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Saturday, June 19, 2021

‘Key Jungler’ plays innocence

By Tabora Bojang

In a dramatic long testimony laden with apparent reluctance and unconvincing answers, Ismaila Jammeh, already described by many victims and junglers alike to be an alleged henchman of ex- president Jammeh, has denied taking part in numerous human right abuses attributed to him.

Jammeh, 47, who joined the army in 1993 was among the first batch of trained commandos who later recommended the likes of General Saul Badgie, Solo Bojang, Omar A Jallow, and Sambou Barrow as eligible for Jungler training.

However, responding to questions by the lead counsel Essa Faal, the Jungler insisted he could not remember key events nor the participation of himself and other members of the team.

He however admitted taking part in the killing of Almamo Manneh and subsequent arrest of Landing Sanneh, who were accused of planning to overthrow Yahya Jammeh in 2000.

Jammeh also admitted being part of the Jungler team that took the former NIA director Daba Marenah, Malafi Corr and four other military detainees from the Mile 2 prison to a bush in Foni.

The men were reported by the government to have escaped but were in fact killed by suffocation.

“My colleagues took these detainees into the forest and when they returned they did not return with them,” he said.

When asked if he did not know the whereabouts of the detainees after they were taken into the forest, the witness replied in the negative saying he could not confirm their execution because he did not hear any gun shots.

He said he later heard that some of the detainees escaped en route to Janjangbureh prison but he could not believe such narration at the time.

“It can happen but I may not know,” Jammeh, the former presidential orderly said.

After series of relentless pressings Jammeh denied his participation in several torture sessions for security and civilian detainees at the NIA where they extracted confessions with torture from the detainees for their alleged links to the Ndure Cham foiled coup.

He also accepted his roles in the interrogation of civilian detainees including then Observer and BBC journalist Lamin Cham and many others in connection to the Freedom newspaper saga.

When pressed that he is hiding under the pretext that he could not remember, by forgetting details of the events to extricate himself from the many heinous jungler activities, Ismaila denied this suggestion saying he spoke only the truth.

But he found time to apologise to his victims for the ‘few’ atrocities he admitted to, arguing that he was a junior officer at the time.

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