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Sun Apr 20 10:29:42 SAST 2014

Gambia appoints first female foreign minister

Sapa-AFP | 02 November, 2012 14:27
Gambia's president Yahya Jammeh. File photo.
Image by: AFP PHOTO/Juan Barreto

Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh has appointed the country's United Nations representative as his new minister of foreign affairs, the first woman to hold the post in his 18-year rule.

Susan Wafa-Ogoo replaces Momodou Tangara, who has been appointed minister of higher education, research, science and technology, a post that had been vacant since September, the presidency announced late on Thursday.

Wafa-Ogoo served as tourism and culture minister from 2005 to 2008 and was also briefly Gambia's high commissioner to India.

Jammeh often shakes up his cabinet, in what observers have described as a sign of paranoia, and runs several key ministries himself.

The iron-fisted leader, who is often under fire from rights bodies for abuses in his west African country, recently recalled his ambassador to Senegal and appointed him as minister of fisheries and water resources.

In recent months the heads of the army, navy and presidential guard have been appointed as diplomats abroad.

Jammeh himself runs the ministries of communications, land, religious affairs and defence.

The 47-year-old leader of the smallest nation on the African mainland, created an international outcry in August for executing nine death row prisoners by firing squad.

Under intense diplomatic pressure he has since halted plans to execute another 38 prisoners.

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Sun Apr 20 10:29:42 SAST 2014 ::