GAMBIA: TRRC DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON RETALIATES AS SHE THROWS JABS AT JOURNALIST OMAR BAH, AMID ALLEGATIONS OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST; SAYS SHE WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED

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At the resumption of the sitting of Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) Deputy TRRC Chairperson Adelaide Sosseh Gaye says the TRRC “will not tolerate persons who attempts to obstruct the work of the Commission or tries to distract from its work by vilifying the integrity of the Commission or the Commissioners.” Her comments followed revelations made by Gambian American journalist Omar Bah, who told Freedom Radio Gambia that the TRRC Deputy Chairperson Adelaide Sosseh Gaye, is a conflicted Commission member and should consider rescuing herself from the Commission. Bah says it was Ms. Adelaide Sosseh Gaye, who hosted Sanna Bairo Sabally, the former junta Vice Chairman shortly after he was released from jail. He also says it was Ms. Sosseh’s daughter Ndey Tapha Sosseh, who made the arraignment for him to interview Sabally, who was being hosted at a Kotu home. Ndey Tapha Sosseh was Bah’s Editor-in-chief at the Daily Observer at the time. 

Mr. Sabally has been accused of committing a wide range of atrocities during his short stint with the former military junta. Multiple witnesses have appeared before the TRRC and have accused Sabally of taking part in the execution of the November 11th abortive coupists. Sabally was also complicit in the torture of former security chiefs detained at the mile two prison.

Sanna Sabally’s name became prominent at the TRRC, when a self-confessed former army corporal Alhagie Kanyi told the Commission that he was ordered by Sabally to kill his own Jarrakan brothers—including the late Sergeant Baisu Camara and Sergeant Fafa Nyang. He also testified that Sabally had taken part in the execution of the late Lt. Basiru Barrow, Lt. Dot Faal, Lt. Gibril Saye, and a host of other army officers, who were accused of coup in November of 1994.

Omar Bah, who is the Executive Director of the Rhode Island based Refugee Dream Center, notes that in the interest of fair hearing, and given the past relationship between Ms. Adelaide Sosseh Gaye and the accused former Junta number two-man Sanna Bairo Sabally, Ms. Sosseh should consider recusing herself from the Commission, when Sanna’s name is mentioned by witnesses.

“She was the surrogate family, when Sanna came out of jail. She was in charge of Sanna’s accommodation, food, among others. She was Sanna’s surrogate “mother”. She took him to a private home in Kotu, where she was taking care of him. I am not sure whether she has made disclosures to the government about her past relationship with Sanna. That disclosure is not made to the public; whether is known to the government or to the Commission’s level, we do not know,” Bah tells Freedom Radio Gambia.

“The reason why I am bring this up is because I am little bit appalled to the extent that a lot of mention of Sanna’s name have come up before the Commission. And these were mentioned in very serious circumstances; he was associated with crimes; she was there when the witnesses were giving evidence,” Bah added.

In an indirect reaction to Mr. Bah’s recent criticism of her, a furious looking Adelaide Sosseh Gaye remarked: “The Commission also has its critics and opponents. The TRRC value constructive criticism and will do all it can to address those criticism, when they occur. The TRRC however, will not tolerate persons who attempts to obstruct the work of the Commission or tries to distract from its work by vilifying the integrity of the Commission or the Commissioners. The TRRC stands resolute in carrying out its mandate to the best of its ability without fear or favor as mandated by the TRRC Act of 2017.”

Ms. Adelaide Sosseh Gaye also said the Commission will compel witnesses, who have been  adversely mentioned at the TRRC to appear and give evidence. She says if it requires the commission issuing subpoena warrants to compel such witnesses to appear, the commission will do it. She added that some of the witnesses who had already testified before the commission had appeared voluntarily on their own.

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