By Emmanuel Nduka
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Gambia has said former President Yahya Jammeh was responsible for a spree of killings, torture and rapes during his 22-year rule over the West African nation.
The independent Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) was set up when Jammeh left Gambia for exile in Equatorial Guinea after refusing to concede defeat in a 2016 election.
The TRRC’s report, which follows a comprehensive three-year inquiry into the abuses of the Jammeh era based on testimony from hundreds of witnesses, was given to President Adama Barrow earlier this month, but was only made public on Friday.
While the commission recommended that those responsible for the abuses be prosecuted, it also said that Jammeh, who came to power in a 1994 coup alongside his henchmen, including a personal hit squad known as The Junglas, were responsible for 44 specific crimes against journalists, ex-soldiers, political opponents and civilians.
These included the killing of journalist Deyda Hydara in 2004, seven civilians in 2000 and 59 West African migrants in 2005.
According to the commission, Jammeh was also responsible for sexual abuse of three women.
“Prosecuting Yahya Jammeh and his co-perpetrators in an Internationalised Tribunal in a country in the West African sub-region,” it said.