By Alagie Manneh
Olay Ceesay, sister of murdered Gambian-American, Alagie Ceesay, has said the decision of the Banjul high court to release former Republican Guards general Saul Badjie and others has left her puzzled.
Badjie has been implicated in the disappearance and murder of Gambian-Americans Alagie Ceesay and Ebou Jobe. He was arrested in January following his return from Equatorial Guinea were he accompanied former president Yahya Jammeh in exile in 2017.
The Gambia truth commission found that Ceesay and Jobe were killed by the Junglers, a hit squad set up by Jammeh and who oftentimes operated under the command of Badjie.
High court judge Justice Zainab Jawara-Alami ordered the release of General Badjie and two other soldiers on the grounds that their detention without charge is a violation of their fundamental right.
But speaking to The Standard from the US, Ms Ceesay said: “Anytime I feel we are making progress with this case, we are taken aback and that only brings back sad memories of how my dear brother and so many others had their lives cut short by these cruel people. I am confused by the high court decision. I am not a lawyer, but many things are not adding up to me,” Mrs Ceesay said.
She added that the high court decision has strengthened her resolve to ensure the killers of her brother are brought to book vowing to fight on “until justice is served to ensure ‘NeverAgain’”.
“This fight is no longer [just] about my brother, or the many other victims who are no longer here,” she said. “It’s to make sure no one else has to be victimised in the future in The Gambia.”
Mrs Ceesay said the truth commission would not have recommended the prosecution of Badjie and the two men if it has not substantiated the revelations against them.
“It means the TRRC has evidence that Saul Badjie and cohorts committed a crime. Once you commit a crime, in my mind, the next step is you get charged. Once you get charged and are taken to court, then it can be argued if you are a flight risk. And I think he is. We have seen many other examples where these guys have disappeared into thin air. Who should have filed the charges and why is there a delay when the TRRC has already made recommendations? I hope the government will shed light on these questions. Clearly, the recommendations of the TRRC are not being followed,” Ms Ceesay lamented.