#National News

Ex-police says migrants’ killers deserve no forgiveness

Mar 9, 2021, 11:38 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

An ex-officer at the Criminal Investigations Department of The Gambia Police Force recently told the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission that those responsible for the killings of 51 West African migrants deserve no forgiveness and should instead face the full brunt of the law.

Buboucarr Bah informed the commission that during the ill-fated event of July, 2005, he was on posting at Barra Police Station and could vividly recollect that while in his office, someone informed him about some strange men in the community.

Bah, an ex-assistant Station Officer (ASO) of Barra disclosed that the men needed a boat to cross over to Banjul, adding that was the time he informed his boss Jawara Demba, who he said, instructed him to mobilise some men to meet the migrants.

The suspects, he went on, were later apprehended and taken to the station but he had no doubt that they were migrants.

“When we got to the station, I wrote their names on a sheet of paper but in 2007 my house got burnt and the paper was engulfed by fire.”

Going through the list of the 51 migrants arrested, the witness confirmed that the list was prepared by him, saying aside from the list he had which eventually got burnt in fire, there was another list he handed over to one Abdoulie Danso. 

Bah said operatives of the National Intelligence Agency later arrived at the scene with one Ousman Jallow and Bamba Manneh, who were accompanied by armed soldiers. 

“I booked the arrival and receipt of the migrants. When Bamba told me they came with a Navy boat, I told them to give me a ride. While in the boat, all the migrants were handcuffed from behind with plastics cuffs but I told Bamba to tell the soldiers to stop it. Upon arrival at the Navy Headquarters, the migrants were forced to kneel down and there we found Service Chiefs in the persons of Assan Sarr, Kawsu Camara alias Bombardeh, Ousman Sonko, Biram Mbaye and Ngorr Secka. Bombardeh was dressed in a local attire called 'Chaya' with a red band tied on his head and a shirt full of ‘jujus’.”

The witness added that Bombardeh trampled on the victims while slapping others, further stating that the late Tumbul Tamba arrived at the place with two plain clothed officers and took the arrestees away in a bus.

“One day Bamba Manneh told me that something terrible had happened, that all the migrants were killed by soldiers. I was also called by former IGP Ousman Sonko, who demanded the station diary.”

The former investigative officer revealed that he was disappointed and felt very bad when former IGP Sonko asked him to commit crime by tampering with the diary.

He explained that because of his reluctance to do what Sonko ordered, Sonko then decided to call one Jawara Demba and instruct him that the diary should be changed.

Bah believed that Sonko falsified documents with the sole intention to cover-up the crimes by the government.