Ismaila Jammeh: TRRC Witness Who Hardly Remembers Anything
Ismaila Jammeh, a former jungular and a ‘distance brother’ of ex-president Yahya Jammeh Monday testified at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission over his alleged involvement in atrocities and other rights violations during the former regime.
Jammeh’s testimony followed those of three jungulars; Malick Jatta, Omar Jallow and Amadou Badjie all of who confessed to taking part in series of killings and tortures. Ahead of his appearance, many people anticipated similar series of confessions from Ismaila Jammeh.
But while he confessed to taking part in the killing of Lt. Almamo Manneh and the arrests of Landing Sanneh, Tamsir Jasseh and others implicated in the 2006 alleged coup attempt by then army chief Ndure Cham, the most common phrase used by Jammeh during his marathon testimony was ‘I don’t remember’.
On at least ten occasions, he responded to the questions from TRRC’s Lead Counsel Essa Faal with ‘I don’t remember’ answer.
Jammeh however gave details of his involvement in the attempted arrest and killing of Manneh, who was accused of plotting to overthrow the government.
“When Almamo Manneh arrived at the Sting Corner and we alerted him that he was under arrest, he responded with a foul language before he started opening fire at us. We responded by returning fire. I cannot say who actually shot him to death but I can say I have no intention of killing him,” Ismaila Jammeh disclosed.
He testified that Manneh’s remains were later put on the booth of Ousman Sonko’s vehicle and taken to Yundum Barracks where it was handed over to the military police.
Jammeh told the TRRC that he and his colleagues left for Landing Sanneh’s compound to arrest him. According to him, Sanneh too resisted arrest and threw grenade through the front door and tried to abscond through the back door where he was eventually arrested and later handover to the NIA.
“I did not see any of our men beating Landing Sanneh after we arrested him and I can say I never beat him too. We only arrested him and put him in the vehicle of Ousman Sonko before we drove him to the NIA where we handed him over and we left,” Jammeh told the commission.
He confessed to participating in the arrest of Vincent Jatta, a former commander. He also confessed to witnessing the execution of Mile Two prisoners including Daaba Marena who were alleged to have been involved in the 2006 abortive coup. Jammeh said he saw two prisoners among the lot being escorted out of the prison, their heads covered in plastic bags, handcuffed and loaded into a vehicle. He however denied knowledge that those prisoners were going to be killed. They were all taken away to be killed at 1am.
He told the commission that he could not speak his mind against the maltreatment of Daaba Marenah and co. while they were removed from the prison to be taken for execution because he was afraid that Tumbul Tamba may report him to the president. He admitted being in the convoy that took the prisoners to Kanilai for execution, but denied taking part in the execution.
Ismaila Jammeh earlier told the commission that he was responsible for identifying and selecting people who later became jungulars. According to him, their role was to patrol the borderline between The Gambia and Cassamance in southern Senegal.