Warrant Officer Class2 Lamin Sillah, who doubles as one of Yahya Jammeh’s hit squad “Junglers” has told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) on Monday that former president Yahya Jammeh ordered the killings of the West African migrants in July 2005.
Lamin Sillah told the Commission that it would be a blatant lie to say that rogue elements killed the migrants as indicated by the then Jammeh’s Administration. He revealed that members of the Gambia Armed Forces killed about 50 West African migrants in July 2005. “All the “Junglers” based in Banjul were answerable to Kawsu Camara alias Bombarded.” Sillah also admitted that “Junglers” in his team were always drunken and the most sadistic of all “Junglers”.
Lamin Sillah further testified that three of the “Junglers” in his team participated in the Ghanaians’ killings, adding that he also participated in the execution of the migrants not as a shooter but as the driver who drove the migrants to the spot where they killed them.
The witness added that Tumbul Tamba and Solo Bojang did not brief him about the mass murder operations. But they instead told him to drive the “Junglers” on a patrol mission. According to Lamin Sillah, Solo Bojang received a phone call from Yahya Jammeh upon arrival at Bwiam.
He said he later knew that the place he went with Solo Bojang and the “Junglers” to pick the migrants belonged to the late Baba Jobe. He explained that Solo Bojang brought the migrants from Baba Jobe’s house and tied them while Sanna Manjang and others guarded the vehicle they boarded later.
Lamin Sillah recalled that, after they (“Junglers”) picked the migrants from Baba Jobe’s compound, they drove back to Kanilai. He said the “Junglers” took the migrants behind the Kanilai Mini Stadium, deep in the forest, and executed them.
He said it was a lie when Malick Jatta said he saw Martin Kyere (the yet known survivor of the killing) running but that Malick Jatta felt sorry for Martin and did not kill him. Lamin Sillah said he saw Mr Kyere escaping but did not do anything, unlike Solo Bojang was running after him while firing gunshots.
The hearing of Lamin Sillah took the TRRC commissioners aghast when he revealed that “Jungler” Malick Jatta threw a grenade in a well to finish one of the migrants who was shot and fell into the well. Lamin Sillah told the truth-seeking Commission that when Malick Jatta threw the grenade in the well, it exploded, and the migrant ceased yelling for help. “They were all shot one by one and thrown into the well,” Lamin Sillah said.
While these killings were happening, he said a Jola traditional jamboree called “bugarabou” was ongoing at Yahya Jammeh’s residence in Kanilai. Sillah said he believed those in the Jammeh residence could certainly hear the gun blasts in the forest.
“I did not shoot anybody,” he, however, said. On what happened to the migrants in another vehicle, the “Junglers” drove to the assassination spot; Lamin Sillah said the hitmen killed all the migrants and threw them into the well.
He testified that after the operations, they all returned to Kanilai while Solo Bojang went to Yahya Jammeh to debrief him. The witness told the Commission that the Kanilai music jamboree continued despite Yahya Jammeh’s hitmen executing 19 West African migrants less than two kilometres away from his palace.
Lamin Sillah informed the Commission that the spot where the Gambian soldiers executed the migrants is not far from Casamance. “Yahya Jammeh was in Kanilai and heard the firings and gunshots,” Lamin Sillah told the TRRC.