Lamin Kaba Bajo, an erstwhile member of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) junta and former minister of Foreign Affairs under Yahya Jammeh’s regime, has on Thursday told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) that he felt embarrassed and misled by his colleague of the Interior portfolio when West African Migrants were massacred in 2005 in The Gambia.
“I felt very bad and embarrassed, I was misled,” said Lamin Kaba Bajo. To this, the Lead Counsel, Essa Faal told Bajo that “he was not misled but instead, allowed to be used against a friendly country”. Lamin Kaba Bajo objected.
As current President of the Gambia Football Federation (GFF), Bajo told the Commission that back then, his responsibilities among many others was to oversee Gambian diplomats and also implement the country’s foreign policy, by managing and maintaining relationships between the Gambia and other countries.
Responding to Lead Counsel on the investigation into the killings of the Migrants, the witness confirmed that there were indeed investigations of the West African migrants in 2005. “All I knew about the Investigations was the feedback I received from the Ministry of Interior,” he said.
On whether he had interaction with his Ghanaians counterpart about the investigations, he responded “No”, adding that he had discussions with the Ghanaian Foreign minister on the disappearance of the migrants in their personal interactions. He said that Nana Akufo Addo, the then foreign minister of Ghana, sent him either one or two letters.
The witness further told the Commission that he responded to the letter at the end of 2005 or early 2006.
Counsel Faal told the witness that “the information in his letter, as per the testimonies before the Commission, was a complete lie, a cook up and a cover-up”. In response, Lamin Kaba Bajo said he learned about the facts from the revelations at the TRRC hearings. He conceded that based on that, he agreed that “the information he sent to Ghana was completely false” as Bajo said he had never seen the Investigations report with his own eyes.
The witness denied ever setting an eye on the investigations Report; adding that the Ministry of Interior were the expert in the matter. “Gambia government claimed that the perpetrators could not be identified as a lie because the government knew who they were”.
From unjustified Gambian hostility to killing fellow brothers of Ghana.
The Lamin Kaba Bajo said the killing happened because of Yahya Jammeh’s Paranoia. He said if he had the chance to face the Ghanaian President today, he would apologize to him and also tell him that the Ghanaians were killed in the Gambia and that it was Yahya Jammeh who ordered their execution.
He added that the Gambia Government was involved in a massive cover-up of these heinous crimes. The witness accepted that he did not exercise due diligence after knowing what transpired, adding that he doesn’t handle files at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Did you ever discuss the killings of the West African Migrants with President Jammeh?” Asked the TRRC Chairman, Lamin Sise.
“Yes”, responded the witness, Lamin Kaba Bajo. He added that he told Jammeh that investigations should be expedited as Akufo Addo was constantly asking him about it, especially in several meetings, when they meet around the globe, and that he (Bajo) had always told Addo that the investigations are ongoing.
“Did you discuss with the Secretary-General or the President prior to sending the letter to the Ghanaian Foreign Affairs Minister”, “No” Bajo responded…
The TRRC Chairman Sise further asked the witness whether he did not find that odd as neither the Secretary-General nor Jammeh saw his response to Ghana. “It could be strange, but I was not instructed by them to do the response. It was my own initiative since the letter that emanated from Ghana was addressed to me”, Bajo replied.
The witness finally apologized to the Gambian people, the Ghanaian government and the victims.