Human Rights, News

Gambia Frees Ex-President Jammeh’s Hitmen

Jammeh and Jeng were used by ex-president Jammeh to carryout torture and extra-judicial killings.

Two members of former President Yahya Jammeh’s hit squad, The Jungulars, who were held for years without charged have been released from detention, the Gambian army said in a media release on Friday.

The Jungulars were used by Mr Jammeh to carryout torture and extra-judicial killings of his opponents and critics during his 22-year long rule in the tiny West African state.

“Owing to the prolonged detention of two members of the former patrol team (Junglers), WO 1 Jammeh Ismaila and WO 1 Jeng Alieu without trial contrary to section 19 (1) and (3) (b) of the 1997 constitution, The Gambia Armed Forces wishes to inform the general public that the duo would be released today 18 March 2022 on stringent bail conditions until when the Government white paper on TRRC recommendations will be released,” it said.

The two soldiers are among members of the Patrol Team AKA Jungulars of the State Guards who have been detained at Yundum Barracks since the collapse of ex-president Jammeh’s regime in 2017.

But according to the Gambian army, the continuous detention of Messrs Jammeh and Jeng without being held on any criminal crime is not tenable under Service Laws and Regulations.

“It is important to draw the kind attention of the general public to the recent case of the Attorney General vs Lt. General Sulayman Badjie and two others, where the High Court dismissed the application made by the State for Lt. General Sulayman Badjie and Co to be detained for 90 days at the Mile II Central Prison for further investigations.
The Court further ordered for the immediate release of the detainees. Interestingly, the High Court in its deliberations took notice of the findings and recommendations of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC), but did not consider such as sufficient grounds to detain the Suspects without charges, regardless of their ranks and influence in the Army. The apparent change of circumstance and the reasoning of the Court availed GAF the reason to release the detainees from detention.”

The release further stated that: “GAF, in a drive to show respect for the fundamental rights of victims of the allegedly perpetrated crimes and to prevent speculations or unfounded rumours, invited The Board of Directors of The Gambia Victim Centre for Human Rights Violations to the Defence Head Quarters (DHQ) in Banjul for discussions on issues surrounding the release of the concern soldiers. During that meeting both parties consented to the release of WO 1 Jammeh Ismail and WO 1 Jeng Alieu on stern bail terms until the white paper is officially published.”

“While GAF reaffirms its commitment to handover the accused soldiers whenever the need arises, the understanding and cooperation of the general public in this regard is herewith duly solicited,” it concluded.