Gambia: 'Jungler' Admits Participating in the Execution of West African Nationals

Photo: Cia Pak/UN
Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia.

Malick Jatta, a member of the redundant Junglers has admitted participating in the killing of foreign migrants sometime in July 1995.

Continuing his testimony yesterday before the Truth Commission (TRRC), Lieutenant Malick Jatta said he killed only one person among the migrants who were alleged to have been mercenaries.

While explaining the incident, Jatta said he was in Kanilia with the Patrol Team, ex-president Jammeh's hit squad, which included Solo Bojang, Alieu Jeng, Bora Colley, Michael Jatta, Mustapha Sanneh, Nfansu Nyabally, Sana Manjang and Tumbul Tamba where they were told that they had an emergency patrol and all of them dressed in battle-ready-outfit.

He said it was hastily done and they boarded a vehicle and joined a convoy of vehicles with full light. He said their vehicle drove to Cassamance Region and he assumed from what he observed, there was coordination amid the convoy.

According to him, when they reached the planned execution point, he was ordered by Solo Bojang to shoot one of the captives which he did. After the shooting, he said he felt sad and traumatized and sat inside one of the vehicles used for the operation.

He remarked, "All of a sudden, I heard somebody running from the back and I heard shots from the back... I saw this man came close to my vehicle and he took a branch to the right. If I was in the mood to shoot, he wouldn't have escaped me."

He said the person laid down flat on his belly 20 meters away from him and he (Jatta) could have killed him if he wanted to, but he did not. "I can say I saved this person," he said.

He said it is unfortunate that he could not remember the exact place of the killings. Jatta said he later learned that the 'mercenary mission' they were told by their commander, was in fact a group of Ghanaian migrants who were killed, but he did not get more details.

On Deyda's Killing

Jatta said he is not sure whether the soldiers in the vehicles Malafi Corr and Bombardier boarded, fired shots at journalist Deyda Hydara.

Lt. Jatta said the Government's condemnation of the shooting of Deyda Hydara which was described as a cowardly act, was in fact a cover-up. Therefore, he said, Jammeh let him down for condemning the act and calling it cowardly.

He said on the contrary, it was Jammeh who was a coward for covering up an assassination he ordered.

He said after the shooting of Deyda, he started staying away from Kanilia, sometimes for about two months, which is an 'offence' with possible consequences of either being demoted or killed.

He said the ex-President Yahya Jammeh's cultist and hypnotizing activities while in power is still affecting the country.

Jatta gave a graphic detail of events where ex-president Jammeh gave orders for the execution of people.

He said he was called upon while at his home at Tujering on the day Ndure Cham's planned coup was supposed to happen. He said he went to State House where men of the State Guard battalion were paraded before the former president Jammeh.

He testified: "I could see him (Jammeh) sprinkling water which I suspected was spiritual water in our local language, we call "naso".

He added the holy water was sprinkled on him.

The water was sprinkled on all the men paraded by Yahya Jammeh, he said, adding Jammeh commented; "You all know me, in the event you have an idea about this coup plot and you are sitting on the information, you will reveal ... ... .by yourself. That means before morning, but in the event, you have no idea about it, you will be protected."

2006 coup

Lt. Jatta said the Patrol Team was given a house around Kotu which belonged to Baba Jobe. He said the house was used for them to observe the rumour of the 2006 coup plot of Ndure Cham. But he did not spend time there according to him.

He said when they were occupying the house, nobody was living there. He said he and Mustapha Sanneh shared the same room while Sana Manjang and Nfansu Nybally each had a room. He said Ismaila Jammeh came in with his family who were there until the 'change's.

He said the reason why he left the place so early was there were vices such as smoking cannabis, drinking of alcohol, having affairs with women. He said his personal values could not march his peers' personal values. He admitted that he used to smoke cannabis heavily. Jatta said the trafficking in cannabis was going on at a high scale and in almost every operation they were embarking on, they would be intoxicated.

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