Ousman Sonko is the worst of all the rotten poisonous elements of the Gambian predicament!
By Patriotic Gambian
Having followed the subject of Jammeh Enablers in this medium over time, I am convinced that the authors and most commentators do not have inside knowledge of the Jammeh machinery. I have seen most of these senior so-called officials closely enough for most part of this 21 years. I think the most dangerous of them all is the Interior Minister Ousman Sonko.
Though he has a silent and calm demeanor, Ousman is the worst of all the rotten poisonous elements of the Gambian predicament. Been born in Casamance, Senegal, Ousman came to Marakissa village in The Gambia as a young boy who was put in school by his guardian. Upon completion at Latrikunda (LK) Secondary, he joined the Army where he was a signaler at Yundum barracks before being redeployed to State Guard as a junior officer. Though he was not well known by the public like the late Tumbul Tamba, Almamo Manneh and Musa Jammeh, Ousman had always been part of the initial Close Protection Officers of Yahya. What Yahya did was, soon after establishing himself the presidency, he selected his own Personal Security Team most of whom were Jolas and selected from the then elite Commandos from the army and the Gendarmes.
They were retrained and re-indoctrinated. This was during the time of Major Landing Sanneh as the State Guard (SG) commander and Babucarr Jatta the army commander.
They were directly under Yahya and were secluded from the regular army. Everything about this unit was strictly secretive and they take orders only from Yahya Jammeh.
Though Ousman Sonko was part of the Landing Sanneh attempted Coup, he sold them out to Yahya. Landing Sanneh was the SG commander and the coup leader.
When they went to arrest them, Ousman together with his boy shot and killed Almamo when they met him at Sting Corner for allegedly resisting arrest only because of him being a Mandinka. Landing, who they claimed to have detonated a grenade on them at his house during arrest,was only shot in the leg. Cpl Momodou Dumbuya, another Mandinka, was also shot and killed in broad daylight in the middle of Albert Market in Banjul. Since then Ousman became the most trusted officer in State House due to his marksmanship and readiness to carry out Yahya’s evil errands without questions.
When Francesco Caso came to The Gambia and connected himself to Yahya, he as an international mercenary induced Yahya into creating a special machinery/terror unit later known as the Junglers. This was during the
time of Lang Tombong as the SG commander. Ousman as before, was a prominent member of this team who were mainly from the secret squad. They had unlimited jurisdiction and had various uniforms including the black outfit which they wore only on special clandestine operations. As Part of their special assassination tactics trainings, many mysterious killings were done in the country and disappearances without trace. Such killings included that of the Jola (yohos collecting) woman in the Kamalo mangroves; theforeign UTG female student killed in Kanifing; the UDP supporter shooting
in Tallinding etc.This same team of Ousman Sonko was responsible for most of the April 10, 2000 student massacre which was blamed on the Police Intervention Unit (PIU).
Yes, the PIU killed some students on the orders of Ousman Badjie thenInterior Minister and VP Njie Saidy on the direct orders of Yahya to “Use force to suppress force”. But most of the killings were carried out by Ousman and his boys. They were deployed soon after the matters got out of the police hands. They had assembled at the Fajara Barracks where they got into the PIU dress and deployed to Westfield area. Because they were wearing the PIU outfit, they were thought to be the police which was wrong. That was why the government soon after enacted laws giving the National Guards/Fajara Barracks limited police duties and powers backdating it to 01 January 2000. The Indemnity bill was also enacted in the same vein.
It was due to Ousman’s active role in the killing of late Deyda Hydara that he was appointed as the Inspector General of Police IGP in February 2004. He was at the time deployed at Yundum Barracks as the camp commander from State Guards just after the killing. He was despite the transfer actively involved in all the operations of the Junglers.
Ousman never had any police training or assignment all through his military career. He had never even worked as a military police. Due of the intensity that the police IG 13 Badjie was taking the investigations and his keen desire to apprehend the killers, Yahya was not comfortable. Ousman’s name featured prominently among the suspects who were all part of the Junglers.
13 was adamant that he wanted to question them and there was a big problem between him and the president who never let that happen. 13 was unceremoniously arrested the same day he submitted his resignation to the president in February 2004. He was immediately detained at mile 2 for five days then later released. Soon after this, Ousman was surprisingly appointed as the new IGP. Why was a soldier appointed as an IGP was everyone’s question? What qualifications does he have and what was his mission were some of the many unanswered questions?
His primary assignment was to tamper with all the evidence and destroy them. That was why he soon recommended the then Crime Management Coordinator Abu Njie as Deputy IG just to move him and appointment a new CMC. After this, everyone on the initial Deyda investigation panel was moved. This was a tactical administrative move to create knowledge gap and loss of memory. The appointment of Abu Njie as DIG was never a promotion as he never had any responsibility and the normal chain of Command was broken with Abu been left entirely in the dark. The late Ousman Sanneh (Commissioner Operations) and Abdoulie Sanyang (Personal Assistant) ran the show at the headquarters. Even Babucarr Sowe was only spared. This led to Abu Njie unceremoniously resigning in 2006.
More details to follow in Part Two, including Ousman Sonko’s role in the massacre of 44 Ghanaians, the Daba Marena and co Murders as well as the use of his office as a brothel etc.