By Abdoulie John
Calls are intensifying for a large scale investigation into the case of the Gambia’s former Interior Minister who fled to Europe following his removal from office. Ousman Sonko’s untimely exit has revived demands for victims of the Jammeh regime to get redress in a court of law.
“He thought he could find safety and protection there. I know for sure that he will be granted time to be in Sweden while they investigate his case,” Sweden-based Gambian pro-democracy activist Kebba Samuel Nyanchor Sanneh told this reporter.
Last week, local news media in Sweden reported that former Gambian Interior Minister landed in the Scandinavian country and filed for asylum shortly after his arrival. Ousman Sonko has been linked to different types of atrocities committed by the Jammeh regime. In the wake of the police crackdown on opposition supporters, he did not hesitate to speak out against protesters. “We will never compromise the country’s security,” he was quoted as saying by local newspapers.
Sanneh, who is currently spending his vacation in the Senegalese capital Dakar, stated that depending on the findings, Sonko will be asked to stay or leave.
The presence of the ex-minister in Sweden has already sparked widespread criticism and some members of the Gambian community are planning to take to the streets to challenge his political asylum. Many human rights groups are calling for his indictment by Swedish authorities or Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC).
Omar Joof, exiled President of Gambia Students’ Union (GAMSU), who spoke to this reporter recalled how Ousman Sonko’s tenure with the Jammeh regime has done havoc to the Gambian people.”They should all be ready to square up with Gambians after liberation,” he warned.
Gambia is ruled with an iron fist by President Yahya Jammeh who seized power in a bloodless 1994 coup. Activists describe his 22-year rule as being marred by gross human rights violations. He has vowed to vie for a fifth term in the forthcoming Presidential Election scheduled to take place in December 1, 2016.