Nine death row prisoners who were executed in the Gambia in August 2012 were suffocated with plastic bags before their bodies were dumped in a disused well, a member of former President Yahya Jammeh’s hit squad, The Jungulars, today revealed at the truth commission.
The revelation was made days after two other army officers accused the former ruler of ordering the murder of Journalists Deyda Hydara of The Point Newspaper and about 45 Europe-bound migrants comprising nationals from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo trying to get to Europe.
Amadou Badjie, a former officer in the Presidential Guard said that the patrol team of State House AKA The Jungulars, were used to execute Dawda Bojang, Malang Sonko, Ex-Lieutenant Lamin Jarjou, Ex-SGT Alieu Bah, Ex-SGT Lamin F Jammeh, Tabara Samba, Buba yarboe, Lamin BS Darboe and Gebe Bah on the orders of Mr Jammeh.
The Gambia Government said the prisoners were executed by a firing squad on Sunday 26th August 2012 after they were tried by the Gambian courts of ‘competent jurisdiction’ and have exhausted all their legal rights of appeal as provided by the law.
A statement signed by Dr Njogu Lamin Bah, minister for Presidential Affairs at the time said: “The laws of the Gambia on death penalty are very clear and provides under Section 18(1) of the constitution of the Republic of the Gambia which states that no Person shall be deprived of his or her lives intentionally; except in the execution of a sentence of death imposed by a court of competent jurisdiction in respect of criminal offence for which the penalty is death under the laws of the Gambia as they have effects in accordance with subsection 2 of which he or she has lawfully been convicted in due compliance with the provisions of the law as above.”
But Sgt Badjie said none of the prisoners were shot nor did he hear the sound of gunshots from the time the prisoners were picked up at Mile Two Prisons until they were killed.
Narrating how events unfolded, Badjie said he was summoned to the base of the Jungulars where he was informed that Jammeh had ordered the execution of the nine prisoners. He added that later that night, a convoy of the team in facial masks visited the prisons and picked up the prisoners who have had their hands tied behind their backs.
“We put them in different vehicles and headed to the shooting range in Brikama. One of the inmates was sandwiched in the backseat of the tinted class car I was in with my colleague Omar Jallow,” he recounted.
“The vehicle was driven by Modou Jarju AKA Rambo and when we got to the traffic light junction near the Yundum Airport, the convoy stopped and one of my seniors Michael Jatta and Sulayman Sambou came to the car with a plastic bag. Michael then told us that he had received ordered for us to kill the prisoners before we get to the shooting range.
” At this time the hands of the prisoner were tied on his back so I took the plastic bag I was given and put it over his head. I don’t know the name of the prisoner but when I put the bag over his head, he was wriggling and struggling with me and Omar Jallow. Sulayman Sambou then joined in and held him tightly until he took his last breath.
“We then continued driving to the shooting range with the dead prisoner still sandwiched between us. It was sad but we had to keep ourselves composed as we could also have been killed if we had shown any signs of weakness.”
Badjie added that other prisoners were taken to the range where they were also suffocated to death. He said after the killings, some ministers visited them at the scene to confirm that the killings were actually carried out.
He narrated that the bodies of the nine prisoners were later transported across the Gambia border in Foni into Cassamance where they were dumped in a disused well.
Badjie who is currently detained in connection with the extra judicial killings has also admitted taking part in the arrest and murder of two Gambian born naturalised US citizens, Alhagie Mamut Ceesay and Ebou Jobe, who went missing while on a trip to the Gambia in June 2013. He said the men were accused of plotting to bring mercenaries from Guinea Bissau to topple the Jammeh regime with the help of some Gambian soldiers.
He revealed that the men were first detained at a secret location and later taken to meet Jammeh in Kanilai who ordered for them to mutilated like meat. He said after the meeting with Jammeh, the men were transported into the bush in Foni were they were beheaded and mutilated before being buried.
Badjie also admitted taking part in the arrest of former Army Colonel Ndure, who was on the run for plotting to overthrow Mr Jammeh. He said Cham was arrested in Farafenni by the Jungulars and taken to an NIA post in Tanji where he was later taken out in the night and summarily executed.
Badjie also admitted taking part in the burial but not the killings of former plainclothes officer Tumani Jallow and Abdoulie Gaye a civilian. He said the men were killed in a vehicle by members of his team before being buried in a garden belonging to former President Jammeh.
He also admitted taking part in the beatings of Imams Bakawsu Fofana and Baba Leigh in detention and appealed for their forgiveness.
“I know my team was a killer squad for Yahya Jammeh but I couldn’t get out of it. They would have killed me if I had tried to get out.”
By PK Jarju