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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Jungler Bai Lowe charged in Germany with crimes against humanity

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By Omar Bah

The German authorities have charged a member of former president Jammeh’s “hit squad” the junglers, Bai Lowe with crimes against humanity. Lowe was arrested on March 16, 2021 on the basis of an arrest warrant from the investigating judge at the Federal Court of Justice and has been in custody since then. But yesterday, the German federal prosecutor announced they have filed charges against him on suspicion of crimes against humanity, murder and attempted murder.

Lowe is alleged to have been involved in three “liquidation orders” and driving other Junglers to attack sites. Among those targeted were the prominent newspaper editor, Deyda Hydara, a critic of the Jammeh government who was murdered in 2004, an alleged opponent, Dawda Nyassi, who was killed in 2006, and a lawyer, Ousman Sillah, who survived a murder attempt a year earlier. Lowe himself described his participation in these events in 2013 and 2014 radio interviews.

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According to the indictment, between December 2003 and December 2006, Bai Lowe was a driver of the so-called “Patrol Team” of the Gambian Armed Forces (also known as “Junglers”). The German prosecutors also accused Lowe, who was living in the city of Hannover, of having notably driven his accomplices to various crime scenes between December 2003 and December 2006.

“This unit was used by the Gambian president at the time, among other things, to carry out illegal killing orders. The aim was to intimidate the Gambian population and suppress the opposition. Against this background, the accused was involved in a total of three such liquidation orders,” German federal prosecutor said.

The prosecutor added: “At the end of December 2003, the accused’s unit was ordered to kill a lawyer in Banjul, the capital of Gambia. In his capacity as driver, the accused transported the other members to the scene of the attack. There, a member of the unit fired several shots at the lawyer who survived the act with serious injuries. A year later, the Patrol Team killed a Gambian journalist critical of the government. To this end, the unit, with the participation of Bai Lowe, stopped the journalist’s car on a street in the town of Kanifing. Two members of the unit then killed him with multiple shots, with Bai Lowe transporting one of the shooters in his vehicle.”

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The prosecutor argued that in the aftermath, probably in 2006, members of the unit shot dead a suspected opponent of Jammeh near Banjul Airport. “The accused transported the other accomplices and the later victim to the scene of the incident,” prosecutor added.

Reactions

According to Philip Grant, Executive Director of TRIAL International, who has provided evidence to the German authorities about this case, “the charges will lead to the opening of the first trial based on universal jurisdiction to judge the atrocities committed under Jammeh’s regime, and it would allow to shed light on the paramilitary unit of the Junglers and their ties to the former president, further preparing the ground for his prosecution.”

“The long arm of the law is catching up with Yahya Jammeh and his accomplices around the world,” said Reed Brody, a Commissioner with the International Commission of Jurists who works with Jammeh’s victims. Jammeh’s henchmen have been arrested in Germany, Switzerland and the United States, and the Gambian truth commission has called for the prosecution of his accomplices in The Gambia, and of Jammeh himself, now in Equatorial Guinea.”

Deyda Hydara’s son

“I want to see justice done for my father and for all the others who were victimised by Yahya Jammeh and his security forces,” said Baba Hydara, son of Deyda Hydara and a plaintiff in the German prosecution. “Everyone involved in the murder of my dad will face justice, and we won’t stop until each one of them is brought to a court of law.”

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