Ex-Gambian Intelligence Chief Yankuba Badjie

Police in the West African nation of The Gambia have arrested the country’s former head of the national intelligence agency and his deputy, both accused of overseeing killings, kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, torture and rape during their time in office.

Former spy chief Yankuba Badjie and director of operations Sheikh Omar Jeng were held on Monday and are being investigated for potential abuses of power.

The arrests were part of President Adama Barrow’s attempts to re-establish democracy in the small West African nation, a police spokesman said.

Badjie took over at the intelligence agency in 2013, with Jeng as his deputy.

The state intelligence as well as government paramilitary forces targeted journalists,  and political opponents over a period of two decades under the rule of longtime President Yahya Jammeh.