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Information Minister Not Aware of Talks on Jammeh’s Return, President Barrow Declines to Talk About it

The Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure Ebrima Sillah has told The Chronicle that he was not aware of any talks between the government and the former ruling APRC party on the return of exiled ex-president Yahya Jammeh to The Gambia.

On Friday, Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the interim APRC leader said at a news conference that his party had started engagements with ‘relevant’ institutions including the government for the return of Jammeh, who has been in exile in Equatorial Guinea since January 2017.

“Negotiations are on and let people have no doubt that Yahya Jammeh will return to this country,” Jatta told journalists. “Nobody has a right to deny a citizen of The Gambia his citizenship right even if he kills the entire Gambian population. He (Jammeh) is a Gambian and nobody can deny him the right to come back. He will come back to The Gambia. The negotiations are on to make sure Jammeh returns to The Gambia.”

Fabakary Tombong Jatta and ex-president Jammeh during the APRC regime

In response, Minister Sillah said he was not aware of any such engagement. “I am not aware of APRC engaging the government on the return of Yahya Jammeh,” he said Monday. “I am not even aware of any engagement between the APRC and the government of The Gambia. And I have not been notified even at the cabinet level that APRC is engaging the government of The Gambia on the return of Yahya Jammeh.”

The government spokesperson Ebrima Sankareh earlier told The Standard that he was not aware of the said talks.

On Monday evening, President Adama Barrow arrived at the Banjul International Airport from the Nigerien capital Niamey. Asked by a journalist upon arrival to confirm whether his government was in talks with APRC on Jammeh’s return, the president declined to comment about the issue.

Fabakary Tombong Jatta talked with President Barrow earlier this year

“I don’t want to discuss about politics,” he responded. “We’re focused and we have our transition. I think we’re on track.  The TRRC commission is on, the CRC is on, the electoral reforms are on. So we are on track and we don’t want to be distracted. I don’t want to discuss about politics. This is our focus. This is the job Gambian people have assigned me to do.”

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