Marie sounded emotional when The Point, Banjul-based newspaper co-founded by her late father, contacted her yesterday: “Am struggling here, as it is times like these I miss my dad the most”.
To many birthdays are a source of joy. But for her, it brings memory of how she still misses her dad.
In the early hours of today (16 March 2021), Bai Lowe was arrested in Hannover, Germany, by officers of the Federal Criminal Police Office and the police of Lower Saxony on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General of Germany.
“An arrest warrant had been issued by the investigating judge of the Federal Supreme Court on 3 March 2021. In addition to his arrest, the suspect’s flat in Hannover was searched,” a statement released by the German Federal Prosecutor General of yesterday morning, 16 March.
Bai Lowe still maintains he usually served as a driver for the hit squad when they conducted the killings on the orders of the former President.
He is the third to face indictment outside The Gambia as authorities in Banjul decided to release from custody other members who were arrested and detained by the Gambia Armed Forces soon after Jammeh fled Banjul in 2017.
As former Inspector General, State Guards Commander and Interior Minister Ousman Sonko faces judicial investigation in maximum security remand in Switzerland, Michael Correa faces indictment in the United States since June 11, 2020.
Bai Lowe is strongly suspected of crimes against humanity, murder and attempted murder (section 7, paragraph 1, no. 1 of the Criminal Code, 211, paragraphs 1 and 2, 25, paragraph 2, 22, 52, 53 of the Criminal Code).
In the arrest warrant, the accused is essentially charged with the following facts: Between December 2003 and December 2006, Bai Lowe belonged to a so-called “Patrol Team” of the Gambian Armed Forces (also known as “Junglers”) as a driver.
“This unit was used by the then-President of the Gambia to carry out illegal killing orders, among other things. The aim was to intimidate the Gambian population and suppress the opposition. Against this background, the accused was involved in a total of three such liquidation orders,” the charge sheet stated.
“At the end of December 2003, the accused’s unit received an order to kill a lawyer in Banjul, the capital of The Gambia. In his capacity as driver, the accused transported the other members to the site of the attack. There, a member of the unit fired several shots at the lawyer, who survived the attack injured,” it added.
The lawyer who survived this attack was Ousman Sillah, a veteran human rights lawyer and former Police officer who was defense attorney for Jammeh’s ex-right hand man and now demised Baba Jobe. The lawyer survived the attack with grave injuries after dodging bullets and hiding behind his car at his house.
A year later, the “Patrol Team” killed a Gambian journalist who was critical of the government (Mr. Deyda Hydara, Co-publisher of The Point).
“For this purpose, the unit, with the help of Bai Lowe, stopped the journalist’s car on a road in the town of Kanifing. Subsequently, two members of the unit killed him by shooting him several times, with Bai Lowe transporting one of the shooters in his vehicle,” the charges said.
At a later point in time, probably in 2006, members of the unit shot and killed a suspected opponent of the Gambian president near Banjul airport. As before, the accused transported the other accomplices to the scene.
Bai Lowe is expected to be brought before the investigating judge of the Federal High Court in the course of today (16 March 2021), who will present the arrest warrant to him and decide on the execution of pre-trial detention.
President of The Gambia Press Union Sheriff Bojang Jnr said the arrest of Bai Lowe in connection with Deyda’s murder is a welcomed news.
“The arrest of a man implicated or named in the assassination of Deyda Hydara…. Anybody who has a hand in the assassination must be brought to book. I hope this arrest leads to him facing justice in The Gambia. We will follow the events with keen interest,” Mr Bojang said.
For the 70 year old Mr Pap Saine, Deyda’s youthful friend and co-partner of The Point, this is a moment to return all thanks to God and the German authorities, for the arrest of Bai Lowe.
Deyda’s death threw more weight on Mr Saine's shoulders in running The Point and looking after the family.
His relation with Mr Hydara dates back to 1969 when they were both jobless. The two started their career with Radio Syd in 1970 as first commercial radio in Africa. In 1988, Hydara resigned to start private business. In 1992, Mr Saine also resigned from Radio Syd.
The two also worked part time with “Senegambia Sun” weekly paper for the SeneGambia Confederation between 1982 and the 1989 dissolution of the Confederation. Deyda worked for AFP for 33 years and RSF for 20 years.
Pap Saine today believes Mr Lowe’s arrest will shed more light on the killing of Deyda Hydara. For almost 17 years, Mr Saine spent time immortalizing Deyda Hydara each year The Point anniversary comes.
Now, he believes such an arrest is long overdue. “He (Lowe) was among the junglers who killed my dear brother and friend Deyda Hydara. He should face justice,” Saine said.
For Mr Baba Hydara, brother to Marie Pierre Hydara, the family is closely following the case with keen interest as things unfold towards justice for their father.