Yankuba Sonko, former Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Yahya Jammeh’s administration and current Minister of Interior of The Gambia has this Tuesday told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) that he has no idea who Jammeh’s hit men the “Jungler” were. Sonko also admitted to have botched on the investigations into the enforced disappearances of Chief Ebrima Manneh, Alagie Mamour Ceesay and Ebou Jobe.
“I have never seen those “Junglers” before,” said former IGP Yankuba Sonko. The witness said the only thing he heard about the “Junglers” was the name ‘Black Black’ and that he only came to know of the “Junglers” as recently as 2014.
The witness added that the hit men were answerable to general Saul Badjie and Yahya Jammeh respectively. “The “Junglers” were involved in drug peddling, and it was difficult to investigate them because I did not know whose command they were acting upon.”
He further told the Commission, whenever the “Junglers” had an encounter with his Officers, the matter would be reported to the Operations Commander of the Army but the “Junglers” would always be told that they are not under their control.
On whether he was afraid to investigate members of the State Guard? Mr. Sonko said he did not think that he could investigate because if he requested for any of them, he may likely replace that person. “I admitted that I did not do my job as expected because I wanted to preserve myself and my men.”
Lead Counsel Faal asked the witness it was in relation with the environment where he had entities that were above the law. The witness responded ‘Yes’ said former IGP Sonko adding that his senior Officers, Commissioner Jatta and Fa Kebba Darboe were held at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), which he said was wrong.
Investigation into the killings of the West African Migrants:
Minister Sonko admitted that the Investigations of the West African Migrants was a cover-up by the Gambia Government. He added that he did not know all the facts of the case and was surprised when he saw Lead Counsel reading the Report.
“I was the only person who was not here when the task force was read, my responsibility was to provide documents to the UN Investigators and provided the Dairy from Barra which I gave to the Investigators.”
Mr. Sonko recalled that he read about the killings of the Ghanaians in the public domain that there were 8 West African migrants killed in The Gambia. He added that all what the former regime told the international community regarding the Ghanaians was lies.
He said the activities related to the arrest of the migrants he was expecting from the Barra Police station diary to unveil was not seen. A preliminary report on the activities of the “Junglers” possibly involved on the disappearance of the migrants was tendered to Yankuba Sonko. In the report, the witness said it is a summary of the crimes committed by the “Junglers” that were arrested and investigated by the Police.
The witness gave the Commission the list of some of the “Junglers” as follows:
General Sulayman Badjie, General Bora Colley, Major Tumbul Tamba, Lt. Sanna Manjang, Lt. Kawsu Camara, Lt. Solo Bojang, Major Nuha Badjie, Major Musa Jammeh, Captain Michelle Jatta, Lt. Malick, Michelle Sang Correa, Abdoulie Jallow, Malick Manga, Lamin Badjie, Malafie Corr, Staff Sergeant Omar A. Jallow, Alieu Jeng and Ismaila Jammeh.
When the Lead Counsel Essa Faal read an extract from the UN/ ECOWAS Report on the disappearance of the West African migrants, Yankuba Sonko was quick to say that it was a blatant lie that the migrants were freed adding that he knew that the Barra diary was falsified as police agents Bah and Jawara Demba testified before the TRRC.
“I would have found ways to evade from the taskforce after knowing what I knew today,” he revealed.
On the allegations of UN Investigators giving women and alcohol, he said it was untrue and he needs to apologies to the UN staff for that.
Yankuba Sonko on the UDP 2016 demonstrations
On the United Democratic Party (UDP) demonstrations in April, 2016, the witness said he received a call from a civilian that there was a demonstration at Westfield and when he contacted the commander of the Police intervention Unit (PIU) the commander told him that he had already deployed his men.
The witness said he has no idea the types of equipment used by the PIU on the protesters.
He said on the day of the UDP demonstration, while he was at home he received a phone call from the Minister of Interior who told him that there was a demonstration from Ousainou Darboe’s home towards Westfield. “I saw two army officers coming out of Ousainou Darboe’s home.”