Gambian authorities stops issuing national identity cards and passports

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Gambian authorities have stopped issuing national identity cards and passports after the former regime gave out national documents to non-citizens, including diplomatic passports.

The West African nation’s homeland security department is investigating the reports and overhauling the entire system, officials say.

Gambia’s former opposition parties, which now make up the unity government had accused the Jammeh administration of giving voters card to thousands of Senegalese from its Casamance region, along its borders in the Foni stronghold of the defeated autocratic ruler.

Jammeh had lost elections to coalition candidate Adama Barrow and fled the country after regional forces advanced on the island capital, Banjul to flush him out of power.

Gambia’s Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe said Jammeh’s former officials and any other person that were given diplomatic or service passports are to return the travel documents before next month, warning that action will be taken against those found to be delinquent.

The Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement, which is tasked with issuing national identity cards did not say if everyone has to apply for new documents but says it seeks to protect the integrity of the national documents.

Hong Kong revoked Gambia’s visa-free access after it found that mainland China citizens were paying tens of thousands of dollars to secure Gambian permanent residency and passports to have easy access to their territory and businesses.

Jammeh administration was aware of this, according to a former senior official, with the ex-president benefiting directly from the profits and preventing authorities from stopping the practice.

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