The Gambia’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice was on Monday defiant on his controversial decision to recommend the release of the three hitmen who confessed their participation in various extra-judicial killings. They all confirmed to the ongoing Sixth Session of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) they acted on the orders of former longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh.
“This press conference was called by me as part of efforts to reaching out to the wider victims’ family and the general public to explain the rationale behind this action,” Abubacarr Tambadou told journalists at the Attorney General’s Chambers building in Banjul.
Mr. Tambadou came under fire for endorsing the release of Malick Jatta, Omar Jallow and Amadou Badgie who revealed chilling details of gruesome crimes they committed under the previous regime.
Minister Tambadou said his controversial decision is free from any overriding agenda, for he is only pursuing the national interest.
Last Friday, Tambadou met with top officials of the victims’ center to clear air over an issue that continues to generate waves of reactions on social media platforms.
“I’ve consistently taken actions in support of the victims. If I take this, it means it is in line with this stance,” he defended, adding the trio cooperated and assisted the TRRC in the truth finding process. Mr. Tambadou however declined to disclose the details of the plea deal the government had reached have with the three Junglers.
“The three have assisted all of us in this country to establish the truth about several incidents. If they cooperate, we need to recognize that assistance,” Tambadou said.
He said it would be justifiable to prolong detention of uncooperating detainees but not those who cooperated with the Commission. “Why should they tell the truth if they are in a similar situation with those who are not telling the truth? ” he asked. “What is the incentive?”
The West African nation, touted as the bastion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, is emerging from two-decade long dictatorship marked by arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings. The election of President Adama Barrow has given Gambians the avenue to right the wrongs of the past, heal their wounds and provide closure to victims and their families.
Tambadou warned the remaining three Junglers to cooperate with the truth commission or else lose recommendation for release.
Gambians from different walks of life continue to appear before the TRRC, which is expected to provide recommendations for the indictment or amnesty of perpetrators.