May 28, 2009, 10:02 AM
crime management unit under the Gambia Police Force and the Gambia Armed and
Security Force are determined to unearth the alleged atrocities committed by
Yahya Jammeh’s regime.
This was made known in a press briefing held at the police headquarters in Banjul yesterday.
The briefing by both stakeholders was actually held to tell the public the progress made so far in responding to cases of disappearance and death of Gambians including other atrocities allegedly committed by Yahya Jammeh and his regime.
Speaking at the briefing, Commissioner Babucarr Sarr, crime management coordinator at the Gambia Police Force, said they have 33 case files from 33 complainants that have been compiled and are currently under investigation.
They have got a lead on 7 cases, he said, adding that they have 10 suspects under their custody helping them in their investigations.
He said the 7 cases involve people who were present during the commissioning of these crimes.
They are also investigating to see if they will have information from other sources, he added, saying they have exhumed three bodies and are hoping to identify others in the near future.
Commissioner Sarr said some of the suspects are jungulars, and jungulars are not civilians but members of the armed forces; so they are detained under the armed forces act.
They are on the move to get pathologists, he disclosed, saying they have the Coroners Act in The Gambia and anything they do is in line with the country’s coroners’ act. “At the police the coroners have the final say in such situations of atrocities involving disappearances and deaths,” he said.
GAF PRO Lt Colonel Omar Bojang, in his remarks, said that with regard to the jungulars at large, they have an ongoing investigation and members of the armed and security services will do everything to unearth the atrocities allegedly committed by the former regime.
In order not to jeopardize the ongoing investigations they would not reveal everything about their plans to unearth the facts to the media.
“When they are done we will call the media to brief them,” he said, adding that culprits would not escape after committing such atrocities.
“The Armed and Security Forces are doing everything possible to bring them to book,” the army PRO said.
He said they are working hard to expedite the process to ensure everyone in pain is healed of their agony and trauma.
Commenting on the explosion in Wassadu, PRO Bojang said the incident had no link to the exhumed bodies and that Wassadu is close to the Cassamance region where the people are fighting to liberate themselves.
However, he noted, they had been investigating the matter to see how and what type of mine exploded in the area to establish the cause.
Talking on how long suspects in government custody will be held in detention, the army PRO said the Armed Forces Act mandated them to keep their personnel for a period of time so they could complete investigations.
He said they are mindful about releasing suspects in custody because they might escape the jurisdiction of the country.
In the Armed Forces Act, they can keep suspects in detention for a month and the commanding officer can also renew a person’s continuous detention, he explained.
Momodou B.E. Njie, an uncle to Lamin Sanneh, whose body was exhumed on Friday, gave memories of his nephew recalling his last sight of his nephew.
He said his family had suffered a lot under Jammeh’s regime due to the detention, torture and death meted out to his nephew.
He therefore refers to his late nephew and colleagues as National Heroes who deserved to be given a befitting burial and a monument erected in their name so they could be remembered for good.
Maleh Jagne, brother to the late Njaga Jagne, whose body was also exhumed on Friday, appealed to the relevant state authorities to consult them anytime they want to carry out process on the bodies, saying media broadcast of the remains is somehow hurtful.