Gambia: Govt - Jammeh's Safety Not Guaranteed

Lancement de la Commission vérité et réconciliation sur la dictature de Yahya Jammeh, le 15 octobre 2018 à Banjul, en Gambie.
13 January 2020

Government's spokesperson, Ebrima G. Sankareh, has made it clear that former President Yahya Jammeh's safety and security cannot be guaranteed if he forcefully returns to the country.

"If former President Jammeh insists in coming to this country without the permission of The Gambia government, he is doing so at his own will and that The Gambia government can't guarantee that," he said.

Sankareh was reacting to deputy APRC leader Rambo Jatta's interview with BBC Focus on Africa in which he (Jatta) said Jammeh should return without being arrested.

Mr. Sankareh acknowledged that Jammeh is a Gambian, but he noted that he (Jammeh) was not an ordinary citizen, as he had ruled this country for more than two decades.

Yahya Jammeh has been making reference to the accords he claimed to have signed with United Nations, ECOWAS and The Gambia government about his return to The Gambia. However, Sankareh said Jammeh's claims are in wilderness.

"President Barrow has never signed any accord or agreement with former President Jammeh and he has never seen one and he has never been shown one and it appears that all his hopes are vested in this document imaginary as it were. Therefore, as far as President Barrow is concerned, he doesn't know what documents this man is talking about."

"Yahya Jammeh is home sick and it's very evident in his audio conversation, Sankareh said, adding that Jammeh is somehow violating the rules of exile for a former head of state. "He is inserting trouble. He is asking his people to go on the streets to claim for his return to The Gambia."

Rambo Jatta, APRC deputy leader, said they're following due processes. "We have to follow first the letter we submitted to EU, ECOWAS and the UN because they are the one that guaranteed Jammeh to leave the country and that he could return at any time he feels to returning and we now feel the time is up."

The APRC No.2 said trying Jammeh means instigating conflict in the country, adding "I don't think that is wise decision the government will do; because they have immunity in the constitution and I think they should respect that."

Arresting Jammeh, he said, should be out of topic of discussion. "In fact, no one dares to arrest him because we will never sit and watch that happen. He must be taken to a court of law where if he is proven guilty then he can be arrested, but just to grab him like that there will be bloodshed; let's not even go there."

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