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‘Migrants’ killing cover-up, not in the interest of national security’

Mar 24, 2021, 12:23 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

Director of Operations, Drug Law Enforcement Agency – The Gambia (DLEAG), Ebrima Drammeh, alias Jim Drammeh, yesterday admitted before the TRRC that the cover-up in the killings of West African Migrants was not based on national security but a shame. 

The former director of Internal Security and Operations at the NIA reappeared in connection with the taskforce created by The Gambia government to help ECOWAS/ UN investigations into the killings of West African Migrants. 

He testified that he and Aziz Hydara were summoned at the Ministry of Interior alongside Lamin Bo Badjie, Yankuba Sonko, Malamin Ceesay, late Numo Kujabi, the late Nfally Jabang  and Justice Awa Bah. 

According to him, they were not chosen to investigate the matter because there was a preliminary investigation made by a previous taskforce, saying their task was to be a focal person for the UN Fact Finders.

“We were orally briefed that the UN will post questions to Gambia government and the taskforce was supposed to respond to those questions. We would also take them to visiting places, arrange interviews.”

According to Drammeh, when the alleged killings of the Ghanaians happened, he was not in the country. However, lead counsel Faal told him that he witness (Drammeh) knew a lot bigger than that.

In response, Drammeh said rumours were rife, while Counsel Essa Faal told him that those rife rumours had some elements of truth involving the person they were supposed to report to. Drammeh answered in the positive.

The witness told the commission that had it been that Jungler Omar Jallow, alias Oya and others had not confessed before the Truth Commission, he wouldn’t have known that 51 West African migrants were executed.

Continuing his testimony, the witness said when the Ghanaians’ issue arose, he was not the director of Internal Security and Operations. But Faal told him that every correspondence by government was kept at the NIA.

Mr. Drammeh said they all lied to the UN investigators but Faal told him that the lie continued from 2005- 2007 when the said investigators came to The Gambia.

Lead Counsel Faal further indicated to him that the fact findings established by The Gambia government was interested in the 8 Ghanaians that were killed, while the international community was interested in 56 migrants. 

Drammeh said there was never a point in time he ever became afraid in operations other than the killings of the West African migrants, saying if they had done otherwise, he would not have been before the TRRC to testify. 

He further admitted that the taskforce was formed to deliberately serve as an obstacle to the investigations. 

The witness added that in all their operations, Nfally Jabang was there as the eyes and ears of the former president. 

“I want to make known to this Commission that during the constitution of that taskforce, we were not to investigate but to serve as focal persons for government. To provide the necessary answers to the UN Fact Finding Mission but when we got to the work, it was different.” 

He accepted that they all deliberately and consciously lied to the investigators; adding that the Barra Dairy was submitted to the then Crime Management coordinator, now Minister of the Interior.  

Mr. Drammeh disagreed with Counsel Faal that he had violated the law for accepting to be part of a cover-up of crimes committed by the state.

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