The team searching for the “secret graves” in the Gambia, faced a tough resistance, when they tried to enter Kanilai, former dictator Yahya Jammeh’s  home residence, as the team was confronted by hostile villagers and armed rebels occupying Jammeh’s villa, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Three trucks filled with soldiers were repelled by the Kanilai residents and rebels. They were denied access to the villa. The incident happened today.

To the chagrin of the exhumation team, they were confronted by armed men believed to be rebels from the Southern province of Casamance. The rebels threatened to blow their heads if they try to forcefully enter Kanilai. Kanilai, is a no go area for the exhumation team.  The safety of the searching team have become an issue. 

Reports have it that Kanilai and its surrounding areas is equipped with landmines. The team had to discontinue its search for secret graves due to security threats.


The ECOMIG troops have been stationed in Bwiam. Kanilai, has been under the guard of local villagers and rebels since Jammeh’s departure from the country, sources said. The ECOMIG forces had once entered the property, but it has never station its men at the villa. They are operating a guard post in Bwiam, which is far from Kanilai. 

A source close to the army said: “ The Barrow government doesn’t know what the heck they are doing. How can you leave an important outlet like Kanilai unguarded? Kanilai, was Jammeh’s powerbase and destination for everything evil. They wanted to be nice with him by saying it is his private property. Today, our men were denied entry to the village. We were confronted by armed rebels and hostile villagers. They told us that there are landmines all over the place. That we risked being killed by landmines if we enter the property. This is the type of situation Barrow and his inept government have exposed the nation to. Three trucks filled with soldiers were repelled from Kanilai. Kanilai has fallen into the hands of the rebels.”

“I feel like killing myself. This is a big embarrassment. The Barrow government should be ashamed of itself after endangering the lives of  Gambians. How can you allow rebels to occupy Jammeh’s residence in Kanilai? This is absurd. I have lost faith in this government. The ECOMIG forces ought to have taken over Kanilai from day one. But this never happen. Now, we have been confronted with another security challenges. Our men were literally chased out of the village by the rebels,” said our army source. 

The exhumation team have since returned to Banjul. Kanilai, remains in the hands of the villagers and rebels. 

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