Denton Bridge victim discloses Yankuba Touray ordered vehicle burning

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Omar Jassey, a native of Pirang village in the West Coast Region yesterday told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), chaired by Dr. Lamin J. Sise that Yankuba Touray, the then Minister of Local Government and Lands ordered soldiers at Denton Bridge to set the vehicle carrying UDP supporters on fire on the 22nd September, 1996.

Omar Jassey stated that Yankuba Touray led a group of soldiers that masterminded the beating, torture and maltreatment of UDP supporters at Denton Bridge.

He recalled that on the fateful day at about midnight, their vehicle was stopped by the soldiers at Denton Bridge. They were asked to alight from the vehicle because their vehicle was targeted by the soldiers.

He asserted that they were undressed and asked to lie face down and thereafter, they were beaten with pipes, sticks, batons, gun butts and the military used boots to stamp upon them.

He recalled that Wandi Jawara, Ousman Jassey, Foday Sanno, Ousman Sanno and  Omar Darboe were amongst the supporters beaten and asked to enter the truck that was going to Banjul.

He explained that whilst the truck was about leaving for Banjul, he attempted to escape but was caught by a soldier who kicked his groin and beat him seriously.

The witness disclosed that Wandi Jawara died a few years later as a result of the beating inflicted on him, adding that he later learnt that Lt. Edward Singhateh, Almamo Manneh and F.R.I. Jammeh, the then Inspector General of Police were present at the scene.

The witness asserted that they were taken to a location at Marina Parade and were forced to lie down and they again given the worst treatment of their lives (beatings.)

Omar Jassey told the Commission that it was at this location that many UDP supporters sustained injuries and had their legs and hands broken.

He said after the beating, they were asked to leave and run but some were unable to move but he walked with some of his colleagues from Banjul to GTTI in Kanifing. He added that upon reaching Nyambai Sawmill Junction, they spotted a military vehicle coming towards them and they then fled into the nearby bush for safety.

He stated that when the soldiers arrived, they stopped and after a search, they started insulting them and he heard some soldiers say they would not allow them to take over the government and that they had sacrificed to take from the PPP government.

Omar Jassey recalled he was a member of the PPP, but joined the UDP in 1996 after it was established, adding that UDP was the strongest political party capable of challenging the APRC.

The witness alleged that the UDP won the 1996 Presidential election, noting that UDP had massive supporters across the country, stating he was with the UDP on campaign trail in 1996.

He alleged that APRC was browbeating and forcing people to join their party whilst people voluntarily joined UDP because of the love they had for the party.

He revealed that the APRC maltreated and intimidated UDP supporters because UDP was a strong force to be reckoned with in Gambia politics.

The witness recalled that during the 1996 Presidential campaign, UDP supporters had altercations with APRC supporters in Jarra-Karantaba, the home village of late Baba Jobe.

Author: Bruce Asemota