FALSE: Gambia police has NOT arrested two German mercenaries?

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By Yusef Taylor

A widely circulated claim that “two German nationals believed to be mercenaries” have been arrested in the Gambia is being shared on multiple social media platforms including WhatsApp and Facebook.

Screenshots of the claim originally made by a Gambian social media blogger on Facebook alleges that “two German nationals [who were] heavily armed” were captured at sea by the naval forces of the Gambian army around Denton Bridge.

This comes few weeks after some opposition parties in the Gambia rejected the outcome of the Presidential election that included some six (6) contesting candidates including incumbent Adama Barrow – a legal challenge to President Adama Barrow’s recent election victory has been dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Below is the screenshot of the social media post.

Fact-Check

The Gambia Police Force has described the claim as FALSE and urged the public to disregard it.

According to the police “the two men shown in the picture published in the Facebook post are security personnel of Trident Group America (a private American Maritime Security Company) specialized in protecting cruise ships along the Gulf of Guinea against attacks by pirates”.

In conformity with international maritime security protocols; the company was obliged to seek entry permit, and clearance for the arms and ammunitions coming into the territorial waters of transit countries.

“It was in observant of the above protocols that personnel of the PIU were directed to escort the weapons to be handed over to the cruise ship as they depart the territorial waters of The Gambia.” A statement from the police clarified.

Upon observing the pictures attached with DiMansa Kujabie’s social media post the luggage of the supposed mercenaries are clearly marked in red ink with the text “property of Trident Group”.

A simple search on their website describes the mission of the organisation:

“The Trident Group America is committed to providing the most comprehensive and professional global maritime security solutions through our application of unparalleled manpower, our strategic relationships, technology, training and support of innovative maritime discoveries.”

An email sent to Trident Group America for comment on the issue has not been responded to as at the time of publication.

Meanwhile Fact-check Gambia has observed that the claim originally made by a Gambian social media blogger, DiMansa Kujabie has been deleted and in a rejoinder said “I want the general readership to know that my story was not to defame the German nationals, their business or their partners.” In what appeared to be a half-hearted apology the social media blogger stated that “to the brother and his counterparts please understand my point, I have nothing ill against you”. 

Verdict

The claim is FALSE.

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Sang Mendy, managing director of the Media Academy for Journalism and Communication (MAJAC), is by default the head of Fact Check Gambia. Sang holds a BA in Journalism and Digital Media from the University of The Gambia. He also holds an Advanced Diploma in Mass Communication and a Higher Teachers Certificate. Prior to being the manager, he worked as a journalism trainer and a radio producer. Sang spends his spare time mentoring the young.

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