Ex-Jammeh Minister Admits The State Of The Gambia Killed The Migrants In 2005
Babucarr Jatta, former Minister of Interior of Yahya Jammeh, has told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) that the State of The Gambia sanctioned the extra judicial killings of West African Migrants and that the same State of The Gambia established and orchestrated and a cover-up of the July 2005 massacre.
Testifying before the Truth seeking Commission, Babucarr Jatta admitted to the fact that he failed in his responsibility as an Interior minister to investigate the migrants’ killings of July 2005 which was meted out by the State. The witness agreed with the TRRC Lead Counsel that all the senior security apparatus of the state were involved in the cover-up of the migrants’ deaths.
The witness added that if the investigations was under his purview, the outcome would have been different, but “It went into the wrong hands. Daba Marena told me that it was an Executive Order that the NIA has to be in possession of the Migrants” Babucarr Jatta told the TRRC.
Asked if that Executive Order included killing the migrants, “No, it was to investigate them,” said the witness. Mr. Jatta admitted that the killing of the Migrants were sanctioned from the State House.
“The State was responsible and you as Minister of Interior confirmed that the murder of these migrants were sanctioned from State House, asked Chairman Sise. “Yes,” Jatta responded. “I instructed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to Investigate”, he added.
“Did you receive a Report?” asked lead Counsel Faal. The witness responded that “There was a staggering response from the IGP which makes me suspicious of him, I pressurized him by constantly reminding him.”
The witness further confessed to the Commission that he suspected that the West African Migrants were killed but he kept silent to preserve himself and his position at the time.
Disappearance of Evidence
The TRRC commission told Babucarr Jatta that the Diary where the names of these migrants were written at Barra Police Station disappeared, just three days after they were executed.
But the witness told the Commission that he was not in Barra Station purposely to inspect the Diary were the migrants names were recorded, but instead he was there to inspect the Police Diary purposely to know how they do things.
“You did not inspect the Diary?” asked the Lead Counsel. The witness responded “Yes” adding that he lied when he earlier told the Commission that he inspected the Diary.
He finally agreed that the Diary was tampered with and falsified. He added that he did not know who removed the Diary.
“As Minister of Interior, what happened to the rest of the detainees?” the Lead Counsel asked. The witness who was recurrently inconsistent with his testimony said the Ghanaian Foreign Ministry was in The Gambia and some of the migrants went back with the Ghanaian authorities.
He admitted that the Police participated in some of the cover-up as the Diary was tampered with purposely to conceal information.
IGP role in the 2005 migrants’ killings
“Do you think you were an effective Minister of Interior?” Jatta responded “yes”, adding that he clearly did not know what the IGP was doing nor did he know that the IGP was the architect of the killings.
“You gave a blind eye to what was going on?” the lead counsel charged Jammeh’s ex-Interior minister. “Yes. I cannot control the IGP because he was at the State House on a daily basis. Sometimes for three months I won’t see the IGP”, replied the witness
“You knew that he was a known killer?”, the TRRC Counsel asked… “Yes” replied Babucarr Jatta.
The witness informed the Commission when Lieutenant Almamo Manneh was killed, there were no Investigations as well. Lead Counsel Faal told him that under the rules of the Army, the matter should have been investigated but the witness said there was none.
In fine, the Chairman of the TRRC Dr. Lamin Sise asked the witness whether “The Gambia sanctioned the extra judicial killings of West African Migrants by State Agents from the State House by former president Yahya Jammeh?” The witness responded “Yes”
When Dr. Lamin Sise put it to the witness that “the State of the Gambia established, orchestrated and cover-up crimes”, Babucarr Jatta replied “Yes,”
The former minister said Yahya Jammeh will bear the biggest responsibility for the mass atrocities that occurred in The Gambia because he failed to discipline officers that committed wrongs, including the “Junglers”.
Mr. Jatta said the Commission is a lesson for all Gambians, especially the security sector. He said even the “Junglers” were not happy with the killings, adding that they can only ask for forgiveness from the victims and God.