“ I have heard the minister argue that their release does not tantamount to an amnesty, but I don’t understand how anybody can justify confessed mass murderers because these are pretty much serial killers. People who have murdered close to fifty people to just release in society, I think it is the wrong move; and I believe it is also demonstration that maybe this government is not very well interested in justice but wants to force reconciliation on Gambians,” Pa Samba Jaw, AKA COACH, a prominent Gambian human rights activist remarked. Jaw was speaking in an interview with this medium.
This followed a move taken by The Gambian government order for the release of three soldiers, who told the country’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) that they committed gross human rights violations during former dictator Yahya Jammeh’s regime. They admitted to involvement in the murder of journalist Deyda Hydara, the massacre of 50 West African migrants mistaken for rebels, and two Gambian Americans, among other killings.
Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou told a news conference yesterday that the soldiers would be released pending the outcome of the TRRC proceedings.
“The decision to recommend the release of the three men, who have been in custody for over two and half years now, has not been an easy one for me, especially considering the victims and their mourning families. But I cannot shy away from making decisions because they may be unpopular. I have a responsibility that compels me to consider all relevant factors in making decisions,” Tambadou said.
Jaw says he also doesn’t think the government is committed to pursuing justice, making true reconciliation impossible. He accused the Barrow government of not prioritizing justice in the ongoing TRRC proceedings.
“I believe that in as much as I loved to reconcile, but I believe that reconciliation without justice amounts to an insult to the victims. And I also believe very strongly that this government, especially President Barrow, demonstrated his own, that they have little or no regard for the victims. If you call it political expediency, that may be a correct thing; but I also think they lack the political will to ensure that there is justice for the victims,” Jaw remarked.
Jaw cited the jungullars’ admission to murdering the two Gambian Americans: Alhagie Mamut Ceesay and Ebou Jobe. He says Ceesay and Jobe had their heads decapitated by their killers. He added that the state releasing the jungullars, will only cause more trauma and pain to the bereaved families.
Jaw called on Gambians, including victims of dictator Yahya Jammeh to pressurize the Barrow regime to prioritize justice in the ongoing TRRC proceedings. He says President Barrow’s government has not demonstrated any seriousness in addressing the plight of the Jammeh victims.