from MOMODOU DIBBA in Banjul, Gambia
BANJUL, (CAJ News) – FORMER members of Yahya Jammeh’s elite hit squad and his ex-allies have testified that the then Gambian president was responsible for the killing and torture of political opponents, rape and sexual assault of women.
Grave crimes under his 22 years in office include the murder of 56 West African migrants, and “witch hunts” in which hundreds of women were arbitrarily detained.
Scores of Gambians living with HIV/AIDS also fell victim to his fake claims of curing the ailment.
On Thursday (today), the Gambia Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC) concluded its first year of publicly-televised hearings.
“The truth commission is systematically amassing evidence of Yahya Jammeh’s alleged crimes,” said Reed Brody, counsel at Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The organisation works with Jammeh’s victims.
“Thanks to the commission’s work and to the courage of the survivors, we are learning more each day about the horrors and brutality that Gambians endured over 22 years,” Brody said.
The truth commission had heard 168 witnesses, including 74 former government insiders such as ministers, the chief of police, the chief protocol officer, a presidential bodyguard and military junta members.
Jammeh has lived in exile in Equatorial Guinea since his departure from Gambia in January 2017.
This followed his electoral defeat to Adama Barrow.
Jammeh initially refused to hand over power but ceded control following the intervention of West African governments.
– CAJ News