By Yankuba Jallow
Inspector Lamin Sambou, a member of the defunct Patrol Team dubbed the “Junglers” squadron has admitted playing a part in the execution of Mile II inmates sometime in 2013.
The witness said while in Kanilai, Major Nuha told him to prepare for a mission that was to be carried out in Banjul without any briefings about what it was going to be. He said they left Kanilai and came to Banjul together with Nfansu Nyabally and Sulayman Sambou.
“While we were standing at the Hamza Barracks waiting for Omar Jallow alias Oya, I heard Major Nuha making communication and told us that the President (Yahya Jammeh) said the execution must take place. I heard him say General Badjie wanted the execution to be cancelled but the President insisted that the execution must be done,” the witness said.
He said they were later briefed by Solo Bojang about the mission which was to execute 9 inmates of Mile II, adding that it was an instruction that came from Yahya Jammeh.
“I was shocked after hearing this. I was not having a weapon for the operation but Sulayman Sambou gave me a jumper to wear,” he said, adding that when they were entering Mile II, he was in Michael Jatta’s pickup vehicle together with his colleague, Momodou Busso and Nfansu Nyabally and Jatta was driving.
He said those who participated in the operation included himself, Momodou Busso, Lamin Bajdjie, Nfansu Nyabally, Omar Jallow alias Oya and others who he couldn’t recognize because it was dark.
He said he recognized the then Minister of the Interior Ousman Sonko, but there were others he could not recognized because it was dark.
He said at the time the prisoners were being brought out of their cells, they were in cuffs and shackles. He said Nfansu Nyabally was communicating with someone and after a while, he strangled the inmate in their car to death. The witness said this happened around the airport junction.
“The inmate couldn’t resist because the hands were tied behind. Nyabally wrapped the plastic over the head of the inmate and strangled him to death,” he said, adding that he couldn’t tell whether the inmate was a man or a woman because he was traumatized.
He said the individual did not resist but air was snuffed out as he struggled to breathe because the plastic bag was over the head. The inmate, he said, was shackled on his legs and his hands were cuffed.
The witness added that another inmate sitting beside Momodou Busso was also strangled to death by Nfansu Nyabally.
“I and Momodou Busso assisted when these two inmates were being strangled,” the witness said.
He said at the range, while in the vehicle he saw others strangling inmates to die but he couldn’t tell who they were because it was dark. He said General Saul Badjie was also present at the range where the execution of the death row inmates took place.
He told the TRRC that the dead bodies were put in a well in the bush aroun Foni.
“I assisted in bringing the corpses from the vehicle to where Solo Bojang was standing and after I returned to the vehicle and I vomited,” he said.
He said after the operation, Mustapha Sanneh told him that the former President has given them each D5000.
“On that day, Mustapha told me that the former President said he will give us D5000 every month. I received it only for two months and on the third month, General Saul Badjie called us and informed us that the money was given to him by the former President, but it was missing,” he said.
He said he was always terrified to receive calls from the ‘Junglers’ because their missions were deadly.
He said he graduated from secondary school in 1995 and joined the Gambia Police Force in 2004/2005. He said he has participated in training on VIP protection ahead of the African Union summit 2006. He said he has also served as an orderly for some of the Inspector Generals of Police including Ben Jammeh and Ensa Badjie.
He said after Ensa Badjie was removed as the IGP, he was returned to the Kanifing Police Intervention Unit (PIU). He said after spending some time at the PIU headquarters, he said he was identified together with Momodou I. Busso and Lamin Badjie by then Commissioner of the PIU Biran Mbye to go and meet the then Minister of Interior Ousman Sonko. He indicated that they were selected because they did VIP protection training among a group of more than 32 personnel.
He said when they met Ousman Sonko, he informed them that they will be transferred to the State Guard. He added that at the time of his transfer, he was a Sergeant.
He said their processes were transferred from the police to the army and they became members of the Gambia Armed Forces. He said as a soldier, he did courses on Support Weapon, training on T91, VIP (bodyguard) protection and other pieces of training. He said his colleague, Busso was a driver, Lamin Badjie was deployed to the Military Police Unit and he was co-opted into the State Guard.
“We were asked to join the Patrol Team after we met General Saul Badjie. General Badjie told us that it was the President (Yahya Jammeh) who brought us to the State Guard under the Patrol Team,” the witness said.
He said the Patrol Team was headed by Major Nuha Badjie. He said they went to meet Major Nuha at a restaurant in Kololi, and he told them that they cannot come to the Patrol Team directly instead they will be used as intelligence officer inside the town. He said their responsibilities were to be intelligence officers who were to observe the highway for the safety of the VIP (Yahya Jammeh’s) convoy when Jammm was travelling on the highway. He said they were reporting as intelligence officers to Major Nuha.
Inspector Lamin Sambou said he was born in Sintet Village in Foni Jarrol District.