During the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission’s (TRRC) hearing of July 11th, 2019, Ms Ndey Tapha Sosseh made a statement claiming that I, Mamadou Tangara, visited Mali on two occasions during which I urged Malian authorities as Special Envoy to get her extradited to The Gambia. And I also discussed the issue of her extradition with my colleagues in Kampala, Uganda.
Contrary to Ms. Sosseh’s allegations, I want to hereby inform the TRRC and the general public that I have never led any efforts or made any statements at any point in time to any Malian official for Ms. Sosseh’s extradition to The Gambia. Besides, there is no extradition treaty between the Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Mali that could make such a vicious ploy possible.
Special Envoy message to a Head of State is never disclosed to the public but I will make an exception.
The purpose of my trip to Amadou Toumani Toure to The Gambia and also to discuss the issue of the arrest of the emissaries of former President Yahya Jammeh who were embroiled in a cattle transaction dispute with a Malian business tycoon, Mr Amadou Gigo.
My trip to Uganda for the African Union Summit was my first meeting as Foreign Minister and I did not meet the Malian authorities
In fact, contrary to what she said, during my visit to Kampala, I have never discussed the issue of Ms. Sosseh or any other Gambian.
As a matter of fact, the issue of Ms. Sosseh never came up during discussion with colleagues.
I was never asked by the former President to discuss the extradition at any point of any person.
He did raise concern over the alleged subversive activities of Gambian opposition members in Mali notable the late Mr. Kukoi Samba Sanyang, Ms. Ndey Tapha Sosseh among others which he asked me to extend to the President of Mali given that he (Jammeh) would not allow anyone to use Gambia as a platform against any other country much more Mali.
During my conversation with my Malian counterpart who happens to be a very good brother and friend, I confided in him to advise Ms. Sosseh to be vigilant because Jammeh is claiming that he can reach his perceived enemies wherever they are.
In the same vein, when I came back to The Gambia, I reached out to a brother Mr. Jibi Bah and asked him to watch his guard because his name surfaced during the issue related to the above mentioned arrest and detention of the emissaries in Mali. He is still around and can be contacted.
For obvious reasons, I did not reach out to Ms. Sosseh directly but I was the one who requested the Malian authorities to provide her protection. Besides, Ms. Sosseh is no stranger to me.
I would like to remind her that whilst she was the President of Gambia Press Union (GPU), I handpicked her to attend a seminar in Bamako, Mali. Not only did I choose her being GPU President but I found her to be a young and intelligent lady who could represent The Gambia with pride and professionalism.
So I was very much surprised to learn that a professional of her calibre will go to an important entity as the TRRC and make unsubstantiated allegations. The same Ms. Sosseh used to send me reports of their meetings and even photos. Therefore, I wonder why she didn’t have the courage to engage me on what she is alleging.
Her allegations led to some ridiculous and venomous utterances on social media against my humble self. It has been said that I fought with demonstrators in New York.
The fact of the matter is that I was physically attacked and I defended myself. I am happy to say that Mr. Falai Baldeh who was at the centre of the fracas later came to me, accompanied by religious and community leaders and tendered apology.
I vividly remember the day because it coincided with a historic day in Gambian diplomacy which I will not dwell on. It was also alleged that I fought with Mr. Banka Manneh and Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh.
I cannot remember meeting Mr. Manneh in person and Dr. Janneh and I always greeted each other with respect whenever we meet. For the information of the general public, I was among some well-meaning individuals in The Gambia and abroad that worked hard at our own risk to defend and secure the release of prisoners among them Dr. Janneh. I want to seize this opportunity to commend James Gomez Jr for his commendable efforts leading to the release of Dr. Janneh and others.
With the help of Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, President and Founder Rainbow PUSH Coalition and many other prominent authorities in the world, efforts to release Dr. Janneh from prison came to fruition.
In a missive to then President Rev. Jesse L. Jackson wrote, “I also thank Honorable Dr. Mamadou Tangara, Minister for Foreign Affairs, for his vital role in assisting with my visit. He is a distinguished diplomat and all Gambians should be very grateful for his tireless service in promoting the vital national interest of their great Nation.”
In conclusion, the fact of being a servant in public office should not give people the license to vilify and cast aspersions on authorities. Let us also avoid resorting to barnyard references.
I have received several calls and messages of support and would like to thank all those who were able to separate wheat from chaff. Let us work in a positive manner in a bid to build the New Gambia we all yearned for.
Minister of Foreign Affairs