The former minister of Interior in the Jammeh government has apologised for giving a false statement about the violent April 10/11 students’ crackdown.

Ousman Badjie, who was the minister of Interior from 1999 to 2003, was testifying before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission on Wednesday.

Mr Badjie was accused of lying about the events of April 10/11, 2000 when students staged a nationwide protest about the injustices meted out to one of their colleagues, Ebrima Barry.

The former Interior minister and his cabinet colleagues held a press conference days after the crackdown in 2000 where they accused the student protesters of shooting at the security forces.

The then Jammeh government used that to justify the use of disproportionate force to put down the protests leading to the death of 12 students and the injuries of many more.

However during his testimony to the TRRC, the former Interior minister owned up to his mistakes and claimed that he was misled by some of the police officers who were at the scene.

“I apologise for the statement I made, it was wrong and unprofessional of a public official. I was misled and I regretted it,” he said.

Mr. Badjie, 52, told the Commission that after realising his statement was wrong, he apologised in an interview with the Gambia Radio Television Services.

He said he was never briefed about the tragic events of the April 10/11 by “the Inspector General of Police nor by his cabinet officials at the time”.

The former Interior minister denied attending any meeting with other state security officials about the April 10/11 protests, adding that throughout his ministerial position he had never received any security assessment.

Mr Badjie, who is a former military officer, said he now works with a Senegalese organisation in Cassamance.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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