Yankuba Sonko, the minister of Interior, has said he worked with the regime of Yahya Jammeh because he did not want to live in exile.

The former Inspector General of Police begins his testimony today at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission. 

Mr Sonko said he served in Jammeh’s regime because he didn’t have a choice, adding “you could be severely punish if you refuse to work in the then government if you get recall after dismissal”.

“I will prefer to stay in the country and accept anything to happen to me rather than me going and be a destitude somewhere [else]. 

“I knew what it feel because I’ve spent seven years in the UK and I know how I was suffering there, I was going to school and at the same time working,” he said.

Earlier the Commission’s lead counsel Essa Faal warned Mr Sonko against lying.

“You are a lawyer, so you understand the rules. You have just taken an oath to speak the truth. You know it’s an offence to lie under oath or provide false testimony to the Commission,” Mr Faal told him.

His testimony will cover several high profile events during the brutal Jammeh dictatorship including the massacre of 50 West African migrants by paramilitary forces. 

Last week a witness, who was a former police investigator in Barra where the migrants were arrested, made a damning allegation against Mr Sonko during his testimony to the Commission. 

He disclosed that Mr Sonko told him how the regime used alcohol and women to influence the work of the UN team that visited the country to investigate the West African migrants massacre. 

He also said Sonko asked him not to speak to the investigators should they reach out to him.

Mr Sonko’s testimony continues. 

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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