The new Gambian government has announced it is setting up a truth and reconciliation commission, the Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou, has said. The commission will provide reparations to the victims of alleged human rights abuses committed during the government of previous leader, Yahya Jammeh.

Tambadou said during a conference on 22 March that consultations were taking place to identify appropriate people who could be appointed as commissioners, Fatou News Network reported.

He added the government would first study similar commissions established in the past.

The commission was first proposed by The Gambia’s new President, Adama Barrow, who defeated Jammeh in presidential elections held in December 2016.

Barrow said he would set up the commission to promote reconciliation in the country which, according to some, is divided due to ethnic tensions exacerbated during Jammeh’s rule.

Jammeh, who ruled Gambia for 22 years, has often attracted criticism for – among other things – persecuting homosexuals, activists and political opponents and inciting ethnic hatred.

Gambia faced a political deadlock when Jammeh refused to relinquish power following his defeat in December’s presidential elections. He eventually went into exile in Equatorial Guinea following pressure from world leaders and a military intervention by Economic Community Of West African States (Ecowas) troops.