US Sanctions Wife Of Former Gambia Leader Jammeh

Families Of Jammeh's Victims In Gambia Demand 'Truth'
Former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh

 

The United States on Tuesday imposed economic sanctions on the wife of former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh, who was accused of corruption during his 22-year rule and is the target of similar measures.

“Zineb Jammeh is believed to control many of the overseas assets of her husband,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

He said the sanctions punish “her role in materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing support to her husband. She utilized a charitable foundation and charities as cover to facilitate the illicit transfer of funds to her husband.”

The former Gambian first lady’s US assets will be blocked, the Treasury said.

Jammeh ruled The Gambia with an iron fist but fled in January 2017 after losing a presidential election to relative unknown Adama Barrow, which he refused to acknowledge before being forced out of power by a popular uprising.

In 2018, Washington blocked Jammeh, his wife and their children from traveling to the United States.

All were placed on the blacklist for those suspected of large-scale corruption or major human rights abuses in The Gambia, a tiny West African country surrounded by Senegal.

AFP

Gambia To Arrest Ex-President Jammeh Upon Return

Yayah Jammeh: Handover Deadline May Be Extended

 

Former dictator Yahya Jammeh would face immediate arrest if he returned home, Gambia’s justice minister warned Sunday, days after his supporters called for his return from exile.

After a year of hearings investigating abuses during his 22-year rule, “it can no longer be ruled out that crimes against humanity have been committed in The Gambia”, said Abubacarr Tambadou.

“There will be the accountability of the highest order for these crimes and I assure the victims that it is now only a question of when, and not if,” he added.

Unless the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) ruled otherwise, “if former President Yahya Jammeh, ever comes back to this country, he will face immediate arrest and charges of the most serious kind”.

Tambadou’s speech, given to mark the opening of the judicial year, was quickly posted online by groups campaigning to have Jammeh brought to justice.

The former dictator ruled the Gambia with an iron fist for 22 years but fled in January 2017 after losing a presidential election to relative unknown Adama Barrow. He only relinquished power after popular protests and international pressure, moving to Equatorial Guinea.

On Thursday, thousands of the former president’s supporters demonstrated in the capital Banjul, calling for his return to the country and to active politics.

They argue he has a right to return under a joint statement from the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations, published at the time of his exile.

In an audio recording leaked last week, Jammeh could be heard saying he supported Thursday’s protest.

On Monday, the TRRC will resume its work investigating the alleged abuses during Jammeh’s years in power. Last year, it heard 190 witnesses give testimony alleging torture, murder, rape and witch hunts under his regime.

Those in power at the time identified by the Commission “will face certain prosecution in the most serious form”, said Tambadou.

AFP

Gambia Removes Yahya Jammeh’s Image From Bank Notes

Families Of Jammeh's Victims In Gambia Demand 'Truth'
Former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh

 

The face of former president Yahya Jammeh, which was printed on all bank notes in The Gambia, has been removed from new bills more than two years after his flight from the West African country.

With accusations piling up that Jammeh ordered dozens of assassinations, the central bank in Banjul, began distributing new 50, 100 and 200 notes in the local dalasi currency from Tuesday.

All the new notes have birds on one side and a variety of local scenes on the other, from a farmer in a rice paddy to a fisherman in a boat at sea.

Local rights activist Madi Jobarteh welcomed the change.

READ ALSO: Bobi Wine Charged With ‘Annoying’ Ugandan President

“A national currency is not a personal property and the head of a sitting president should not be on that note,” he said.

“There are many Gambians who deserve to be on these notes because of their role and contribution in the struggle for independence and development of this country since independence,” he added.

Trader Alagie Kanteh told AFP the bank was “right in removing the image of the former president”.

“He is responsible for the killing of a lot of people in this country.”

Jammeh ruled the tiny state for 22 years after taking power in a bloodless coup in July 1994.

He was repeatedly re-elected in disputed circumstances until defeated in December 2016 by a relative unknown, Adama Barrow.

After a military intervention by other West African states, Jammeh bolted from his country and found refuge in Equatorial Guinea.

Human rights activists accuse his regime of torturing opponents, executions without trial, forced disappearances and rape.

A Truth Commission has since January been hearing evidence of the mayhem, including testimony from hitmen who said they carried out dozens of murders for Jammeh.

Just days ahead of a major Muslim holiday, central bank governor Bakary Jammeh said he expected strong demand for the banks notes, which will soon see old ones bearing Jammeh’s face taken out of circulation.

AFP

Yahya Jammeh Ordered Illegal Execution Of Nine Nigerians In Gambia – Falana

Yayah Jammeh: Handover Deadline May Be Extended
File photo of ousted Gambia President, Yahya Jammeh.

 

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana says that in 2005 former President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia, ordered the illegal execution over fifty persons, including nine Nigerians.

According to a statement on Thursday, Falana said that on July 21, 2005, the Gambian Navy seized a boat conveying 58 immigrants, including 9 Nigerians, 40 Ghanaians, 3 Senegaleze, 3 Sierra Leoneans and 2 Togolese sailing towards a fishing vessel anchored on the high sea to stowaway to Europe.

Falana further revealed that apart from two Ghanaian nationals who were released to a Ghanaian Government Delegation another Ghanaian escaped from the custody of the Navy.

He however noted that the remaining 55 immigrants were illegally executed on the orders of the “brutal regime of Mr. Yayah Jameh, former President of Gambia”.

READ ALSO: ‘Illegal Custody’: Falana Writes Buhari, Demands Release Of 40 Nigerians

The human rights activist said his firm was able to establish the identity of one of the Nigerians said to have been executed.

”In the investigation conducted by our law firm into the killings it has been established that the 9 Nigerians involved were travelling with their passports. However, the Nigerian Community in Senegal confirmed the identity of one of the massacred Nigerian immigrants. The details are:-

“Name:    Omozemoje Paul Enagameh

Passport No:           A1548206

Place of Birth:         Lagos

Date of Birth:           9th December 1976”

While thanking the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama for providing vital information in the investigation, Mr Falana on behalf of his firm, stressed that the family members of the 9 Nigerians that were “illegally executed” have an opportunity to seek redress in the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission currently sitting in Banjil, the Gambia.

Gambian Govt Condemns Ex-President Jammeh’s Planned Return

Families Of Jammeh's Victims In Gambia Demand 'Truth'
Former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh

 

Banjul on Thursday condemned former president Yahya Jammeh’s pledge to come back to the West African country in a leaked phone call that went viral on social media.

“Neither man nor (spirit) can stop me from coming back to The Gambia,” Jammeh said in the leaked tape, comments the current government subsequently called “shocking and subversive”.

It said that in light of Jammeh’s record of “state-orchestrated disappearances, kidnappings, murders,” it would act accordingly and decisively, without further elaborating.

“The leaked tape…

revealed in significant detail the former President’s desperate efforts to stay politically relevant in The Gambia even as his trail of terror and economic crimes are being cased for potential criminal prosecution,” the government said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the former ruling party, Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), said it was probing the leak of a call between its members and the ex-president – the first time the country’s old ruler has been heard of since he fled in 2017.

Jammeh, whose 22-year-rule was marked by numerous human rights violations, lost the presidential election in December 2016 to then opposition leader Adama Barrow.

He went into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January 2017 when armed intervention helped end his rule.

There have been numerous calls for Jammeh to be returned to his native country to be prosecuted for the alleged human rights abuses, including the killing and torture of opponents — although a share of the population still supports him.

AFP

AIDS Patients Sue Gambia’s Ex-President Jammeh Over Fake Cures

Families Of Jammeh's Victims In Gambia Demand 'Truth'
Former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh

 

Three people living with AIDS in Gambia are suing former president Yahya Jammeh.

They alleged that the former president detained and abused them as guinea pigs to test his supposed cure for AIDS.

“My clients are claiming damages for false imprisonment and (declaring) that the defendant subjected the plaintiffs to inhumane and degrading treatment contrary to the constitution” while they underwent Jammeh’s alleged HIV/AIDS cure, one of their lawyers Combeh Gaye told AFP shortly after filing the suit on Thursday.

Jammeh, who has lived in Equatorial Guinea since January 2017 when armed intervention helped end his tough 22-year rule, claimed to possess a range of mystical gifts, including the power to cure asthma, epilepsy and sterility as well as AIDS, using plants and chants.

The AIDS patients who have gone to court are two men of 63 and 64 years old and a woman of 51. They are members of associations that support people living with HIV/AIDS.

Shortly after Jammeh in January 2007 publicly announced his “discovery” of an AIDS cure, the three plaintiffs and six other people, including a minor, were invited to meet the president at State House and became his “first batch” of experimental subjects.

In their court case, they testified that top among Jammeh’s “rules was that the members of the group should immediately desist from using any anti-retroviral drugs and/or any other form of conventional medication” given to people with HIV/AIDS.

Jammeh kept the patients locked up during some six months of treatment until July 2007, brushing aside their objections to being filmed during the alleged therapeutic sessions. They later learned that videos had been broadcast on state media, including official GRTS television, the three plaintiffs said.

Despite the ineffective and painful nature of the supposed remedy, the first batch of subjects backed up Jammeh’s claim to have cured them when they were discharged. The court case specifies that they “were compelled by fear and threats from the defendant’s agents”.

Then health minister Tamsir Mbowe joined Jammeh in “false and misleading claims”, encouraging “numerous” other people with HIV actively to seek magical treatment, the plaintiffs argue.

A Muslim onetime soldier, Jammeh seized power in a bloodless 1994 coup in the former British colony, a small enclave of a nation inside Senegal either side of the Gambia river and with an Atlantic seaboard.

From 1996, the increasingly erratic leader won successive presidential elections until he was beaten by opposition candidate Adama Barrow in December 2016, agreed to step down and then changed his mind.

After a six-week political crisis, Jammeh left the country on January 21, 2017, in the wake of military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and a final mediation bid.

AFP

Gambia Ex-President Accused Of Ordering 50 Migrant Deaths

Families Of Jammeh's Victims In Gambia Demand 'Truth'
Former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh

 

A paramilitary unit controlled by former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh was accused Wednesday by rights groups of being behind the killings of more than 50 West African migrants in 2005.

Human Rights Watch and TRIAL International said they interviewed 30 former Gambian officials, including 11 officers, and a survivor of the round-up as part of a joint investigation.

The migrants — 44 Ghanaians and several Nigerians, Senegalese, as well as a Togolese — were arrested on a beach in Gambia while trying to reach Europe, suspected of being mercenaries wanting to overthrow Jammeh.

According to a joint statement by the NGOs, they were detained in the capital Banjul and handed over in groups to the “Junglers”, a notorious paramilitary unit, and executed.

“The West African migrants weren’t murdered by rogue elements, but by a paramilitary death squad taking orders from President Jammeh,” said Reed Brody, a legal advisor at Human Rights Watch.

“Jammeh’s subordinates then destroyed key evidence to prevent international investigators from learning the truth.”

A joint report by the Economic Community of West African States and the UN, which was not made public, concluded in 2009 that the killings and disappearances were carried out by rogue members within the Gambian security services, with no credible evidence to suggest they were acting on orders from superiors.

“The new evidence makes clear, however, that those responsible for the killings were the Junglers,” HRW and TRIAL said in their statement on Wednesday.

In the statement, Martin Kyere, the only known Ghanaian survivor, told how his group was tied up in the back of a pick-up truck.

“It was then that I thought, ‘We’re going to die,” he said.

But he managed to get free and escape into the forest, and later helped Ghanaian authorities identify many of the victims.

Jammeh, whose 22-year-rule was marked by numerous human rights violations, lost the presidential election in December 2016 to opposition leader Adama Barrow.

He fled the country the following month for Equatorial Guinea, where he finally conceded and handed over power.

AFP

Families Of Jammeh’s Victims In Gambia Demand ‘Truth’

Families Of Jammeh's Victims In Gambia Demand 'Truth'
Former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh

 

Families of the victims of ex-Gambia president Yahya Jammeh’s regime demonstrated on Tuesday to demand the “truth” about their deaths and disappearances.

They accuse Jammeh, who ruled the West African country for 22 years, of rampant corruption and human rights abuses including forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions.

“We want justice now,” around 30 protesters shouted as they marched in Banjul, an AFP journalist said.

Last year, authorities announced that the remains of Gambians killed while fighting for the end of the Jammeh regime had been exhumed.

“A year later, families and friends have no information about the whereabouts or fate of the deceased,” said Zainab Lowe, sister of a member of the presidential guard who disappeared in 2006.

“This time the waiting is over. The truth must be told and we need justice,” she added, on behalf of the families of the victims.

Jammeh was defeated by Adam Barrow in a December 2016 presidential election, a result which he fought for weeks until the threat of a regional military intervention.

He is currently in exile in Equatorial Guinea.

AFP

Adama Barrow Sworn In As President In Banjul

Adama Barrow Sworn-In As Gambian PresidentAdama Barrow has been sworn as President in Banjul, the Gambia’s capital.

The occasion was witnessed by thousands of people at the independence stadium.

It is the second time Mr Barrow is taking the oath of office.

The first time was at a very low-key event at the country’s embassy in Senegal, January, after a lengthy power struggle with the former President, Yahya Jammeh.

Mr Barrow is the third president in the history of the Gambia, and the celebration is also marking 52 years of the country’s independence.

Jammeh had refused to accept election results but finally left after mediation by regional leaders and the threat of military intervention.

The former President eventually flew into exile, ending his 22 years in power.

Gambia’s Central Bank Account Intact, Barrow’s Spokesman Says

gambia-currencyA spokesman for the president of Gambia has said that the nation’s central bank deposits are “intact”, a day after the new leader, Adama Barrow, said there was no money left in the state coffers.

Barrow said on Sunday that it appeared his exiled predecessor, Yahya Jammeh, had looted state resources after his election defeat.

A Barrow adviser later said Jammeh had withdrawn the equivalent of over $11.5 million before he flew out of the country as West African troops were poised to remove him.

That amount would represent 1.2 per cent of Gambia’s 2015 GDP, according to World Bank figures.

“There had been information to the public about the central bank. It was of particular concern but the inspector general (of) police told me that everything is intact,” Reuters quoted Halifa Sallah as saying at a news conference in Gambia’s capital Banjul.

It was not immediately clear if Barrow and his adviser, Mai Ahmad Fatty, had been referring to central bank funds or other state resources. Fatty could not be reached for clarification.

According to Reuters, Jammeh is believed to have acquired a vast fortune, including a fleet of Rolls-Royces and an estate in a wealthy suburb of Washington, D.C during his rule.

Reports say luxury cars and other items were seen being loaded onto a Chadian cargo plane on the night Mr Jammeh left the country.

The veteran leader, who had refused to hand over power after his defeat in December’s election, flew out of Gambia late on Saturday en route to Equatorial Guinea after negotiations backed by regional military pressure.

But even before the cheers to celebrate Jammeh’s departure had died down, there was dismay that the former soldier was being allowed to flee into luxurious exile and might hold onto his fortune.

Mr Barrow had said that over 11 million dollars was missing from the Gambia’s state coffers.

An Adviser to President Adama Barrow, Mai Ahmad Fatty, also said financial experts were trying to evaluate the exact loss.

Dogara Commends Buhari, ECOWAS Leaders Over Gambia

Dogara Commends Buhari, ECOWAS Leaders Over GambiaThe Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari and other ECOWAS leaders for the role they played in averting a major political crisis in The Gambia.

In a statement issued on Sunday by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, the Speaker said that President Buhari and his colleagues have averted a major political crisis that could have engulfed not only the Gambia but the entire West African sub region.

The Speaker said that the leaders masterfully deployed diplomacy backed with potential military action to compel former Gambian dictator, Yahya Jammeh to relinquish power to President Adama Barrow.

“The leaders have demonstrated their readiness and strong resolve to defend democracy on the continent.

“This would send strong signals to the world that democracy has come to stay in Africa. There is no room any longer for tyrants and dictators in the continent”, he said.

The Speaker maintained that in spite of any misgivings about democracy and its impact on the lives of the people, it still remains the best form of government and that “the will of the people and the consent of the governed remain the only basis of any government.”

Dogara said that the task ahead of African leaders is to fashion ways of making the system better  to deliver the greatest good to the greater number of people in order to enthrone good government, defeat poverty, engender patriotism and trust in the democratic system of government.

Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh Flies Into Exile In Equatorial Guinea

Yayah Jammeh: Handover Deadline May Be ExtendedGambia’s former leader, Yahya Jammeh, flew out of the capital Banjul on Saturday and into exile after stepping down from power.

According to the BBC, he boarded a plane to Guinea, and will from there, travel on to exile in Equatorial Guinea, regional group ECOWAS says.

The authoritarian leader took power in a 1994 coup and stepped down overnight in the face of pressure from West African armies that entered Gambia to force him to recognise that he lost an election in December to President Adama Barrow.

ECOWAS mounting pressure to force Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh out of office paid off after all, as he has attributed his decision to step down to the pressure from West African armies which entered the Gambia this week.

Mr Jammeh had rejected the result of the presidential election he lost to Mr Barrow, even after he had earlier said he accepted the defeat.

His announcement on state television overnight signalled an end of a political impasse.

While Jammeh held on to power, tension rose, countries withdrew their nationals from the tiny nation and some 7,000 soldiers from Nigeria and Senegal entered Gambia backed by tanks and warplanes.

They were poised to move into the capital as Jammeh’s army provided no resistance.

While mediators led by Nigerian leader, Muhammadu Buhari, were making attempts to convince Mr Jammeh to accept defeat and hand over power to Mr Barrow, Nigeria’s House Of Representatives pushed forward a request to the President.

They wanted President Buhari to provide an offer of asylum in Nigeria to Jammeh, but mediation talks did not yield result.

Reuters had reported that Jammeh spent much of Friday in talks in Banjul with the presidents of Guinea and Mauritania over where he would live and whether he could be offered amnesty for alleged crimes committed during his years in power.

Those talks were yet to be concluded and some in Banjul said they were angry he was being allowed to bargain and sceptical he would in fact step down, not least because he first accepted he lost the December 1 election to Barrow and then changed his mind.