By Tabora Bojang
Four army officers alleged to be members of former President Jammeh’s hit squad the “Junglers” have been released from military detention after no evidence was found against them.
This was disclosed by Lt General Masanneh Kinteh, Chief of Defense Staff of the Gambia Armed Forces who was addressing a press conference at the Officer’s Mess last week.
The released suspected Junglers are WO1 Modou Buso, Warrant Officer Class 2 Abdoulie Jallow, Warrant Officer Class 2 Lamin Samba and Staff Sgt Lamin Badgie.
“Following the first opinion from the Attorney General Chambers, it was established that no evidence of commission of offence exists in respect of the undermentioned suspects and that apparently it would be impossible to find evidence linking them to the commission of any offence during their service at the patrol team”, Lt General Masanneh Kinteh said.
According to General Kinteh, the matter of other members of the patrol team who are currently in detention will be forwarded to AG Chembers for a second legal opinion to take the appropriate actions.
On why the arrest if there is no evidence initially found against them which may violate their constitutional rights, General Kinteh responded that their arrest came at a time when there were limitations in terms of relevant institutions to be able to provide strong evidence against them.
They were among scores of soldiers arrested in February 2017, and extensively interrogated for their alleged involvement in numerous extra judicial killings and human rights abuses committed during the former regime as members of the notorious patrol team commonly known as the Junglers.
CDS Kinteh further revealed that the Gambia Armed Forces Military Police have concluded an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the mysterious death of Private Baboucarr Bah whose corpse was found in a well in Tanji in March 2018.
“A post mortem was conducted to establish the cause of death and it was recommended that a further investigation be carried out to further ascertain the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate incident,” Kinteh added.
He added that the matter is now forwarded to a joint investigation team comprising the State Intelligence Services, the military and the criminal intelligence wing of the police.
According to CDS Kinteh, plans are high in the reform and transformation process to restore civil military relations and ensure the army become a 21st century Armed Forces ready to carry out her constitutional mandate with Gambian people’s interest at heart all times, stressing that gone are the days of lawlessness, coup d’états and deviousness in the Army.
Meanwhile General Kinteh also presided over the inauguration of the GAF website created to facilitate readily available information and meaningful communication with the public, attended by Government spokesperson Ebrima G Sankareh and Defence officials.