Jungular Confesses to Participating in 5 Killings, 2 Torture Sessions
Pa Ousman Sanneh, a former jungular has confessed to participating in the killings five Gambian citizens and the torture of two others between 2013 and 2016.
Appearing before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission Wednesday, he said the orders to kill and torture derived from the top – implicating former president Yahya Jammeh.
Sanneh testified that he participated in the killings of former Majority Leader of the Parliament Baba Jobe, Gambian-American friends (Alhaji) Mamut Ceesay and Ebou Jobe, and Tumani Jallow and Abdoulie Gaye. He also confessed to participating in the torture of Lt. Col. Sarjo Jarjue and Captain Abdoulie Jobe. He denied taking part in the killings of nine inmates of Mile II prison as well as the torture of Imam Ba Kawsu Fofana contrary to testimonies given by earlier witnesses.
In Baba Jobe’s murder, Sanneh accepted responsibility but said he did not directly kill Jobe. He told the TRRC that he was asked to stand outside while his colleagues went ahead to “finish” Baba Jobe who was battling with illness on his sick-bed at Banjul referral hospital.
Regarding the killing of two Gambian-Americans – Ebou Jobe and Mamut Ceesay, he said he received a call from Michael Jatta to a meeting at the jungulars’ base in Kololi. He named the members who gathered at the base on that night as Nuha Badjie, Major Modou Jarjue alias Rambo, Captain Mustapha Sanneh, Captain Michael Jatta, Captain Michael Correa, Warrant Officer Class1 Nfansu Nyabally, Warrant Officer Class 1 Pa Sanneh, Warrant Officer Class II Malick Manga, Staff Sergeant Sulayman Sambou, Sergeant Omar Jallow, Sergeant Amadou Badjie and Sergeant Saikouba Jarju.
“After the meeting of the seniors, they came out and briefed us about a mission that we were to carry out. They told us that there were Gambian-Americans around who came to dislodge the government of Yahya Jammeh, that they were mercenaries. They said we should take them to Kanilai where Yahya Jammeh was which we did.”
“When we reached Kanilai, the seniors [including Nuha and Rambo] who were in the vehicle alighted and took them inside Yahya Jammeh’s compound. They spent sometime inside before they came out. When they came out, we started the vehicles and departed to the bushes. They asked Chairman [Amadou Badjie] to go and collect the pix-axes from the car and we dug the graves. We were told that Yahya Jammeh said we should chop them into pieces and bury them which they did. They were brought while we the subordinates were digging graves. We all participated in the killing,” Sanneh testified.
He sought forgiveness from his victims, saying he and some of his colleagues were junior officers who weren’t perfect.
In a separate incident, he recalled a day when Sheikh Omar Jeng, an NIA officer brought two persons to the jungulars; Tumani Jallow and Abdoulie Gaye. According to him, they all knew that they were going to kill the two.
“We took them and Tumani boarded my vehicle. Abdoulie Gaye went to board the other vehicle,” he said.
Sanneh indicated that the vehicle he drove boarded Major Modou Jarju alias Rambo, Sergeant Saikouba Jarju and Sergeant Oya [Omar] Jallow, while Malick Manga, Staff Sergeant Sulayman Sambou, Mustapha Sanneh and Michael Jatta boarded the other vehicle which contained Abdoulie Gaye.
“As we proceeded, Oya and Saikouba sandwiched Tumani in the vehicle and we went like that. I heard Oya asking Rambo about the rope. He gave him the rope. Saikouba and Oya suffocated Tumani. If I remember, Tumani spoke to Oya. He told him “my elder you are taking me to kill me.” Oya replied “yes” and added “that’s the order I got”. Tumani never said anything again. They strangulated and killed him.”
He said the two were buried at Yahya Jammeh’s garden in Foni where the two Gambian-Americans were also buried.
In his torture confessions, Sanneh recalled joining his colleagues to forcefully stretched Lt. Col. Sarjo Jarju on the table at the NIA headquarters, lashing him with horse-pipes for thirty minutes while the victim cried continuously. He said a similar thing was done to Captain Abdoulie Gaye, who was left injured with bruises on his body.
“We’re juniors to these officers. Even Sarjo who was stretched and beaten knew well that we cannot face him individually. But he knew that if you see we did that, we got orders from the top.”
“You keep saying we have received directives from above but you knew those directives or those orders were unlawful. You knew that. Didn’t you?” the Lead Counsel Essa Faal asked.
In response, Sanneh said there was no such legal advice in the army. “In army whatever you do is right. What they instructed you is what you do. They said the senior man is always right.”
“If they tell you to go and shoot yourself, will you?” asked Faal.
“Unconditionally, yes. There is no way out so I will do it because we operate base on orders.” Sanneh responded.
“So in the Gambian army if your superiors tell you to shoot yourself you will go and shoot yourself? That’s what you are telling us” asked Faal.
“If the order came for you to do that, there is no way you have to do it,” Sanneh replied.
“Whatever soldiers acted on, they consider it a lawful order because we don’t have legal knowledge and they do not teach us that at the training school. We don’t know our rights and for us we only obey all orders either written or verbal. In our work, this is what is happening up to now. We get our instructions from our immediate commander Lt. Col Ba Nuha [Badjie].”