A high-ranking member of President Yahya Jammeh’s personal security detail has disclosed what the whole world has been waiting for: reasons for the illegal arrest and detention of families and friends of the failed December 30th coup suspects. General Saul Badjie [named Karafa Bojang at birth] said the goal is to instil fear and apprehension among Gambians so that no one ever tries to launch a coup in the future.
General Badjie, who heads The Gambia’s Republican Guards, spilled the beans during his tour of the military barracks in the country. He said the government’s clampdown on families and friends of the coup suspects was meant to “set bitter examples. These arrests are all about setting examples in order to deter future attackers,” General Badjie repeatedly told soldiers, warning them to desist from attempting to overthrow the Jammeh regime because the consequences would always be severe.
Badjie said by arresting family members and friends of the coup suspects would deter any future coup in The Gambia before it happens, for they will be forced to report coup plots in advance.
Dozens of innocent family members and friends of the alleged State House attackers remain in arbitrary detention, with The Gambia government not providing details, let alone arraign the detainees in a competent court of law. The detainees who spend more than two months incommunicado include a 13-year-old boy who has since been denied the right to attend school, which violates his constitutional right. Detention without trial is outlawed by Gambian constitution.
Rights groups have challenged the Jammeh regime on its continued violations of human rights.