The Gambia Armed Forces has released two detained soldiers, suspected to have been members of ex-President Yahya Jammeh’s hit squad, The Junglers, on bail pending the TRRC white paper recommendations. 

“Owing to the prolonged detention of two members of the former patrol team (Junglers), WO 1 Jammeh Ismaila and WO 1 Jeng Alieu without trial contrary to section 19 (1) and (3) (b) of the 1997 constitution, The Gambia Armed Forces wishes to inform the general public that the duo would be released today (18 March 2022) on stringent bail conditions until when the Government white paper on TRRC recommendations will be released.

“The concern soldiers were arrested and put under detention at Yundum Barracks, since 2017 for their alleged involvement in human rights violations under the former regime. 

“Their continuous detention without being held on any criminal crime is not tenable under Service Laws and Regulations,” the army said.

“It is important to draw the kind attention of the general public to the recent case of the Attorney General vs Lt. General Sulayman Badjie and two others, where the High Court dismissed the application made by the State for Lt. General Sulayman Badjie and Co to be detained for 90 days at the Mile Two Central Prison for further investigations.

“The Court further ordered for the immediate release of the detainees. Interestingly, the High Court in its deliberations took notice of the findings and recommendations of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC), but did not consider such as sufficient grounds to detain the Suspects without charges, regardless of their ranks and influence in the Army. The apparent change of circumstance and the reasoning of the Court availed GAF the reason to release the detainees from detention,” the army added.

“GAF, in a drive to show respect for the fundamental rights of victims of the allegedly perpetrated crimes and to prevent speculations or unfounded rumours, invited the Board of Directors of the Gambia Victim Centre for Human Rights Violations to the Defence Head Quarters (DHQ) in Banjul for discussions on issues surrounding the release of the concern soldiers. 

“During that meeting both parties consented to the release of WO 1 Jammeh Ismail and WO 1 Jeng Alieu on stern bail terms until the white paper is officially published. 

“While GAF reaffirms its commitment to handover the accused soldiers whenever the need arises, the understanding and cooperation of the general public in this regard is herewith duly solicited,” it continued.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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