The Centre clarifies that it was only invited to a meeting held on the 16 March 2022 at the Gambia Armed Forces Headquarters in Banjul where they were informed about the matter.
Below reads the full text of the Centre’s release:
The Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations (VC) would like to inform all Victim-led organisations, the entire victims’ community, and the public that they were not part of the decision making in the release of the two last held Army Officers who were members of the former patrol team (Junglers), WO1 Jammeh Ismaila and WO1 Jeng Alieu.
Prior to the press release by the Gambia Armed Forces on 17 March 2022 informing the public about the release of the two Junglers, the Victims Center was invited to a meeting held on the 16 March 2022 at the Gambia Armed Forces Headquarters in Banjul. The Gambia Armed Forces, in collaboration with the Ministries of Defence organized the meeting. The VC delegation was led by the Chairman, Board of Directors.
The meeting was Chaired by the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence and was attended by Senior Army Officers. The Chairman welcomed the VC delegation to the meeting and informed the VC delegation that the Gambia Armed Forces in consultation with the Ministries of Defence and Justice had decided to release on bail the aforesaid Army Officers (Junglers) who had been held in custody since 2017. He and the Armed Forces representatives argued that the continuous detention without trial of the two Junglers was against the law and their rights violated in the process, hence emphasised the need to release them on bail pending the release of the Government White Paper due on or before 25 May 2022.
The VC delegation expressed their disappointment on the timing of the release of the Junglers especially at a time when the Government White Paper is almost about to be released. The VC further expressed their concerns that the timing of the release could also be interpreted as a strategy to free the said Junglers, especially considering the long delays by the government in taking the Junglers to court.
The delegation further raised fears as to whether the two Junglers and those who were released earlier on will not jump bail or fail to appear when they are needed for prosecution.
The Chair of the meeting and the Armed Forces representatives gave the delegation all assurances that, they would be monitored closely, and would be reporting on a weekly basis to the Police to ensure their presence in the country.
The VC and other victim-led organisations, held a press conference on 19 March 2022 on the Sana Sabally issue, and to further clarify its position regarding the release of the Junglers by the Army.
Considering the above, the VC would like to assure all Gambians that it will continue to closely collaborate with the Army, Ministries of Defence and Justice and all other relevant stakeholders, to ensure that all Junglers are prosecuted as per the TRRC recommendations. The VC will continue to closely collaborate with its sister Victim-led Organizations, and CSOs, to monitor the implementation of the TRRC Recommendations by the government.
Finally, The Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations will continue to work with all players in fighting for justice for victims and to ensure that peace continues to prevail in our country, the Smiling Coast.