By Baba SIllah
When President Barrow took over he issued an executive directive for the arrest of the members of former President Jammeh’s hit squad, the Junglers.
While many of them jumped jurisdiction, about a score of them were arrested and have been extensively interrogated. Among them is Tujereng-born Malick Jatta, 42. The former Hermann Gmeiner High School student joined the army in May 1996 and was trained as a commando. After The Gambia fell out with Libya, he was asked to join the ‘Patrol Team’ the euphemistic official name given to the Junglers. He said after inducting them by making them take oaths of allegiance and secrecy, they were introduced to the border routes with Senegal.
Malick Jatta who rose to the rank of lieutenant by the end of Jammeh’s presidency, told investigators that his first killing assignment involved one Dawda Nyassi. He said the late Jungler group leader Major Tumbul Tamba informed him that Nyassi was among the Gambian dissidents brought back by Jammeh from Liberia and they were hatching a rebellion against the Gambia Government.
“We picked him [Nyassi] from the former Plaza Cinema near Brikama Garage. Myself, Tumbul, Lt Col Sanna Manjang and (WO) Alieu Jeng were in the vehicle and Tumbul drove us to behind the airport. When he stopped and got down, he told us Nyassi was ‘one of the idiots’ and that we should do as he did. He scolded the man, pushed him to a tree and operated his gun. Before I shot, I said ‘In the interest of the Gambia, we are ordered to gun you down’. That was the time we all shot him from the same direction. The dead body was left there and we went back to Kanilai and I have no idea as to the death [sic] body.”
Jatta also revealed to investigators that he was involved in the murder of Ndongo Mboob in 2006. He said Mboob was given to them from a glass-tinted vehicle he believed to belong to the NIA. He said they took him to a well in President Jammeh’s garden. “We took the man to the well where Sanna Manjang gunshot [sic] him and dumped him into the well,” Jatta said.
He said after these killings their base was relocated to Baba Jobe’s Kotu residence. But while there, Jatta said his “personal values did not match with them [the other Junglers] because of too much drinking of alcohol and bringing prostitutes”. So he said he stayed in his family home in Tujereng.
Jatta who said he was privy to the murders of Deyda Hydara, Daba Marenah and others said after killing and throwing some people believed to have been part of the Ndure Cham coup in a well in the Casamance, he parted company with the murderous thugs and subsequently, was totally suppressed.
Jatta said, “I have repented since 2008 and I focused my attention on prayers until I find my way out. That is why I am pleading for mercy and forgiveness from all the families that might have been affected from the orders I have been assigned to execute.”
Jatta said military police under Baboucarr Ngum picked him from his house after he returned from treatment for what he suspected was food poisoning.
He said he would be willing to serve as “a state witness against former president Yahya Jammeh even at The Hague.”