Gambia police probing dozens of forced disappearances

2017-04-05 10:15
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Banjul - Gambian police said on Tuesday they were working on more than 30 cases of individuals who disappeared in custody under Yahya Jammeh's former regime, as investigators uncover secret burial sites.

Crime management co-ordinator Babucarr Sarr told media that 33 case files had been opened since January, with several more expected, and 10 people were in custody including members of Jammeh's 'Jungler' death squad.

"Thirty-three files have been compiled," Sarr said. "We have about seven cases in which we have a lead so far."

It is the first time Gambian police have given a figure for forced regime disappearances since Jammeh left power in January after 22 years of iron-fisted rule.

He handed power over to President Adama Barrow following a protracted handover crisis in the tiny west African country.

The remains of four men have been exhumed so far, including the body of opposition activist Solo Sandeng and three coup plotters who unsuccessfully tried to oust Jammeh in 2014.

National monument 

Momodou Njie, whose nephew Lamin Sanneh was found near the former president's home village of Kanilai last week, said families wanted the government to return bodies for a proper burial.

"I would like them to be buried in a place, in our Muslim way, and the place will be marked as a national monument," he said.

Njie had received death threats and threats against his wife and property, he added, and said the government should stop intimidation by Jammeh supporters.

Colonel Lamin Sanneh, who served in Jammeh's presidential guard, Alagie Nyass, and Njaga Jagne -- who served in Iraq for the US army - were among those who mounted an attempt to overthrow the former president in December 2014.

All three men were known to have been killed in the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt, but the full circumstances of their deaths were unclear until now.

Killings and tortures 

Members of Jammeh's ultra-loyal death squad, known as the "Junglers", have long been accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings and torture by the United Nations and rights groups.

Several of them are among those in custody and are cooperating with the authorities, Sarr said, as the interior ministry investigates a litany of unsolved disappearances.

"We need to ensure there is a proper mechanism and system for dealing comprehensively with the unfortunate incidents that have happened in this country since 1994," justice minister Abubacarr Tambadou told AFP on Tuesday.

Tambadou is spearheading efforts behind a truth and reconciliation commission due to begin work in six months time, which will hear victim's testimonies and decide on future prosecutions.

Read more on:    yahya jammeh  |  adama barrow  |  gambia  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/Africa
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.