By Omar Bah
A former intelligence officer commanding investigations at the National Intelligence Agency yesterday told the TRRC that current Interior Minister Yankuba Sonko led a team of security officials who ‘falsified police diaries to cover up West African migrant killings’.
At least 50 regional migrants reportedly travelling to Europe were arrested in the country in 2005 and brutally murdered on the orders of former President Yahya Jammeh. Majority of them were Ghanaians.
Aziz Hydara alleged before the truth commission that immediately after the killings, Sonko, as the then Crimes Management Coordinator, led a taskforce set up to cover up the killings.
“I know he was the head of our team and he was present. He was there as the head of the team when this thing was happening. I have high regard for him (Yankuba Sonko) and I’m going by his advice that we should come to this commission and tell the truth. So that is what I’m doing,” Hydara, who was a member of the taskforce, told the TRRC.
The Interior Minister appeared at the TRRC weeks ago and accepted that there was cover-up but denied having knowledge that the police diaries were tampered with.
Hydara however said Minister Sonko was in fact the leader of the taskforce that met at Kairaba police station and concocted new diaries where all information dealing with the migrants was taken out.
Also testifying at the TRRC yesterday on the same matter, Biran Mbaye, a former officer commanding the Police Intervention Unit, said both Minister Sonko and Ebrima Jim Drammeh lied to the TRRC over their claims that ‘they don’t have any hand in the cover-up or distortion of the police diaries’. He said the government also lied when it claimed at the time that the migrants were killed by rogue elements in the army. He recalled Kawsu Camara [Bombardier] came to his office after working hours demanding for him to hand over the migrants to him.
“Bombardier told me he was sent by the IGP to collect the migrants but I refused and requested that he asked the IGP, Ousman Sonko to call me. He left my office but a few minutes later, IGP Sonko called and asked me to hand over the migrants to Kawsu. This is how I went to the guard room and took the name of Kawsu, his number plate and the detainees,” he said.