Ousman Sonko Denies Responsibility for Baba Jobe’s Murder

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Source Trial International: Reported by Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)

The former Gambian Interior Minister Ousman Sonko is charged with crimes against humanity relating to torture, kidnapping, sexual violence and unlawful killings between 2000 and 2016 under then-President Yahya Jammeh’s regime denied responsibility for Baba Jobe’s murder.

Ousman Sonko is accused of having intentionally killed Baba Jobe – a former member of the National Assembly October 2011, in complicity with a group of perpetrators.

Ousman Sonko denied all the charges brought against him for Baba Jobe’s murder. A witness was called to testify upon the prosecution’s request.

The witness has been a prison guard (assistant to David Colley, General Director of Prisons, at Mile 2 prison). He testified that he was responsible for guarding prisoner Baba Jobe, who was hospitalized on 28 and 29 October 2011.

According to the Federal prosecutor, upon orders, the witness granted a group of Junglers access to Baba Jobe’s hospital room so that they could kill him. The witness also has important information about the penitentiary authorities, who at the time were directly under the hierarchy of Ousman Sonko.

According to the prosecutor during the investigative phase, the witness was interrogated by the Swiss prosecuting authorities in March 2021 in The Gambia where he was still working as a prison guard.

According to the Prosecutor, his hearing by the Court is decisive within the frame of the examination of Ousman Sonko’s responsibility over the murder of Baba Jobe.

The witness stated that inmates were picked up in the Mile 2 prison, mostly by Junglers, and taken to NIA to be tortured. Asked by the Court to describe the state and appearances of the inmates who were taken back to the prison, the witness replied that it was visible that they had been tortured.

The witness also stated that David Colley, his superior, would provide day-to-day reports to Ousman Sonko every morning over the phone.

According to the witness in October 2011, he was asked by David Colley to guard Baba Jobe, who was hospitalized. David Colley then informed him (the witness) that some men would come and that he should give them access to Baba Jobe. 

The witness further explained how some Junglers came to Baba Jobe’s hospital room and suffocated him, but he could not confirm whether the instructions came directly from Ousman Sonko, adding that the Minister of Interior had to be aware of any actions or decisions taken by Colley.

The accused (Sonko) confirmed that he had authority over David Colley, but denied having regular and daily phone calls with him. In addition, he did not admit to having given any order about Baba Jobe’s murder to Colley. Ousman Sonko indicates that David Colley was the one who had informed him of the death of Baba Jobe.

 Ousman Sonko stated that David Colley had a particular relationship with the President. As a result, he would directly talk to him, without passing through the Ministry of Interior. It was the witness who would sometimes come to him to inform him about orders he received from the State House.

According to Sonko, Baba Jobe was not a political prisoner but a criminal who had been convicted of financial crimes.

 Coming next: The court will examine the facts related to the arrest and torture of protesters in April 2016.