By Ousman A. Marong
A former Crimes Management Coordinator (CMC) at the Gambia Police Force, Pa Amady Jallow, who attempted to investigate the killings of some West African migrants in the Gambia in July 2005, has described those killings as being callous and heinous.
Testifying before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) on Monday, Jallow said there cannot be reconciliation without justices, adding that those found wanting for those barbaric acts should be dealt with in accordance with the law.
According to him, on 22nd July, 2005 while he was watching on TV a musical jamboree at the 22nd July Square, he saw the then Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Daba Marena walk to former President Yahya Jammeh and spoke to him and thereafter he saw the former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ousman Sonko also did the same.
He further explained that the following day he saw several missed calls on his mobile telephone from Abou Njie, former Deputy Inspector General of Police when he woke up. This he said made him wonder as to what was happening. He said when he called back Abou Njie, he was instructed to go to Kairaba Police Station to join the NIA to investigate some people who were arrested.
At the Kairaba Police Station, he said he found the migrants detained and when he spoke to their leader he told him that they were from Senegal and were trying to board a vessel in the Gambia to go to Europe.
Jallow said while he was about to obtain their statements he received a call from deputy IGP who ordered him to go to Brufut and investigate some dead bodies found near Ghana Town. He said when he got to the scene, he saw some of the dead bodies half-naked, some had their heads broken and blood oozing from their heads and ears, while some had their hands tied. .
Jallow said with his experience, the victims were no doubt assaulted with a heavy object and that the assailants must have left the scene in a hurry, about four hours before he got there.
“I was traumatized, confused and terrified as head of the crime unit in the country”, he stated. He described the incident as a massacre.
Jallow further stated that when Inspector General (IGP) Ousman Sonko arrived at the scene he told him (Sonko) that the killings were foul play, heinous and barbaric.
He however said he could not confirm whether Sonko was traumatized or not because he talked less and he (Sonko) later left the scene.
Jallow told the TRRC that a former IGP, Landing 13 Badjie cautioned him to be careful with the case knowing the state was behind the killings.
He said when he transported the dead bodies to the mortuary in Banjul; he searched their pockets and found some foreign currencies with some of them. He said after that, all attempts to discuss the issue with IGP Sonko was unsuccessful because he (Sonko) refused to entertain any discussions with him.
Jallow also told the commission that he was immediately removed as Crime Management Coordinator and redeployed to the Traffic unit, apparently because the state was not happy with the truth he was about to bring to light.
He described the killings of the migrants as unnecessary, adding that there was a correspondence informing the Gambia government about a ship anchored at the Banjul Port suspected of planning to carry some migrants to Europe.
Jallow told the commission how he was later advised by a close friend to watch his back because one of the ‘Jungulars’ Nfansu Nyabally, was assigned to kill him.