Victims of former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh vowed to take the law into their hands if the government allows him  to return from exile without facing justice.

There have been rumours about Jammeh’s return from Equatorial Guinea where he has been exiled since 2017 after been forced out by an Ecomig military mission.  

Sheriff Mohammed Kijera, chairperson of the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations, said at a press conference that they have been notified of the “purported” homecoming of former President Jammeh.

He said if the rumours are true it would be “disastrous for this country and Jammeh himself.”

“If those rumours should materialise, the victims would take to the streets, the victims’ families and loved ones would take to the streets, patriotic Gambians would take to the streets, resort to the unthinkable, and make this country ungovernable until Yahya Jammeh is arrested and justice,” Mr Kijera said.

He said victims want justice for the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Jammeh regime, adding “no one must be allowed to deny and distort the facts and bury the painful episodes of our people after having been subjected to lots of pain and indignity.

“The Minister of Defence Sheikh Omar Faye would do anything to keep a job. He disrespected and insulted victims who suffered torture, rape, castrations, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, wrongfully arrests and detained under gruesome conditions by telling them to ‘suck it up and stop crying over spilled milk’”. 

Mr Kijera said many people resisted and fought against what he called “Jammeh’s evil regime” and many were forced into exile. 

“Some were raped, others lost their manhood so therefore it would take only an enabler to suggest that all Gambians were responsible for that evil regime.

“For clarity, the Victims Centre wants to make it categorically clear that it has never worked with the Ministry of Defence on matters related to the welfare of victims of the past regime.”

He urged the government to have the political will to fully implement the recommendations of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC), after its completion which they believe will lead to the timely prosecution of Yaya Jammeh and his enablers.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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