Gambia: "Jungler" Admits Torturing Imam Baba Leigh, Others

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

Omar A. Jallow, a member of the defunct 'junglers' Tuesday admitted participating in the torture of Imam Baba Leigh, Imam Bakawsu Fofana, and others.

The 48 - year - who testified before the TRRC also, admitted participating in the killing of 30 foreign nationals and in the killing of one Haruna Jammeh.

Born on the 22nd July 1972, Jallow said he joined the Gambia National Gendarmerie on the 3rd July 1993 and was deployed to the Fajara Barracks. He said after the coup, he was deployed to the State Guard on 22nd July until the ousting of the Jammeh's regime. He said he did a body guard training with the Algerians.

He said in 2004, he underwent 'junglers' training which was conducted by an Italian instructor, Francesco Casso. He explained that the training entailed terrorism and counter-terrorism.

"This was the second intake of the junglers," he said, adding that he trained together with Saul Badjie.

The first intake of the junglers according to the witness, were Ismaila Jammeh, Lamin Senghore (Assasin), Paul Bojang, Nfamara Camara, Alieu Bojang and Lamin Sanyang.

He said in his intake the members included Saul Badjie, Umpa Mendy, Ebrima Njie, Lamin Sillah, Muhammed Sambou, Lamin Sillah, Bara Mboob, Ebrima Njie, Buba Darboe, late Lieutenant Solomon Jammeh and others amounting to about 30 men. He said Bai Lowe was not a trained 'jungler', but a commando.

"We were all deployed to the State Guard as close protection officers to the former president under the command of Musa Jammeh alias Maliamongo," he said.

He said their patrol team composed himself, Ansu Danjo, late Balamin, Paul Bojang (as their leader), Alieu Bojang, Nfamara Camara and Molamin Tamba. He said they used to patrol along the border area around the Cassamance region of Senegal. He explained that during the training, there was a man on a motor bike who was shot and killed by a member of his patrol team who he couldn't remember. He said the man was carrying cannabis and was shot when he refused to stop. He said the man refused to stop when the was asked by the patrol team to do so. He said their instructor, Francisco Casso, expressed joy after the patrol team shot and killed the armless man on the motorbike.

"As a 'jungler', the training entails preparedness at any giving time to fight against any aggression. We kill when the need arises," he said.

He said their instructor came into contact with Almamo Manneh who was planning to overthrow the former regime. He said Casso went to the Yundum Barracks with Almamo Manneh to manipulate the weapons to execute the purported coup but alongside, the instructor took some rounds which he tendered to the NIA and disclosed the planned coup to them.

He said their instructor Francesco offered to the NIA that he can train personal protectors to the ex-President and that was how he came into contact with ex-President, Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh.

"I was among the instructors of the third batch," he said.

He said the third batch of the 'junglers' training consists of Solo Colley, Micheal Correa, Landing Tamba, Abdoulie Jarju, Bora Colley among others.

He said his patrol team shot at a vehicle around Silleti village on the borderline after the driver refused to stop and two people lost their lives, although he said he was not present during this incident.

"The 'junglers' were trained purposely to guard the VIP," he said.

He said in July 2005, he participated in the killing of Ghanaians and other nationalities who were taken to be mercenaries. He said this incident met him in Kanilai, and he was chosen to be part of the team.

"Yahya Jammeh ordered for the execution of the foreign nationals," he said.

He said he went to Banjul together with Solo Bojang, Sanna Manjang, Alieu Jeng and Malick Jatta and picked these Ghanaians and other nationals to Kanilai. He said Sanna Manjang briefed them that there was another group set for the same purpose and they were Lieutenant Colonel Sarjo Jarju, Kawsu Camara alias Bombardier, Bai Lowe, Landing Tamba and others.

He said these foreign nationals were picked from Kololi around the Coconut residence and they were taken to Kanilai.

"When we drove to Kanilai, we went behind the fence of the former president and headed to Cassamance. When we arrived at this place in Cassamance, Solo stopped the vehicle and we all came down. Solo said these people were mercenaries and he told us that the order from the former head of State (Yahya Jammeh) was to fire at them. We were transporting them to the firing ground one by one and Sanna Manajang and Malick Jatta were firing at them and throwing them into the well," he said.

He said it was himself and Alieu Jeng who were picking these captives and taking them one by one to the firing ground where Manjang and Jatta will fire at them.

"There were only two shooters; they were Malick Jatta and Sanna Manajang," he said.

He said there was no one among the captives who escaped in that operation.

"I was given $100 by one of them who pleaded to me to allow him say his last prayers but before he completely knelt down, Sanna Manajang fired at him. I eat the $100," he said.

He said the government did not condemn the killings of these foreign nationals.

He said he participated in another operation involving one Haruna Jammeh who was detained at the NIA. He said he was instructed by Tumbul Tamba to go with Solo Bojang and Alieu Jeng to go and pick Haruna Jammeh and take him to Kanilai. He said they went up to around Killy village where they branched to use a backway to Kanilai and they went up to a certain point and Solo Bojang stopped the vehicle.

"Solo gave me and Jeng a long rope to tie the neck of Haruna Jatta and we tied him. When he fell on the ground, Sanna Manjang stamped on his neck from the car and he died," he said, adding that Solo Bojang was the only one left in the car during the operation.

He described Haruna of being a person who used to offer him personal help in times of need.

He said in another mission dubbed 'jasacha' which he managed to exclude himself through family issues, there was another man killed by Sanna Manjang.

"I participated in the torture of Imam Baba Leigh, Imam Bakawsu (Fofana) and another Imam, in the torture of the 30th December coup plotters," he said.

He said: "On the torture of Imam Baba Leigh after he (Leigh) was interrogated... ... , we were ordered by Nuah Badjie to torture him. We beat him using sticks, elastic pipes and I saw blood and bruises on him. The torture lasted for about half an hour."

He said Imam Baba Leigh was tortured by himself together with Amadou Badjie, Pa Sanneh, Saikouba Jarju, Sulayman Sambout, Malick Marong, Mustapha Sanneh, Micheal Jatta, Nfansu Nyabally, Captain Momodou Jarju alias Rambo and Nuha Badjie.

"Nuah gave the order for us to torture him (Baba Leigh)," he said.

He said while the Imam was being tortured, he was reciting a verse of the Quran.

He said another imam was tortured (whose name he couldn't remember) by the same torturers who tortured Imam Baba Leigh in the presence of the Director of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Yankuba Badjie.

He will reappear tomorrow to continue with his testimony.

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