Gambia’s government has defended its decision to release three soldiers who worked as assassins for former leader, Yahya Jammeh.
Malick Jatta, Omar A Jallow and Amadou Badjie last month confessed taking part in several killings on the orders of Mr. Jammeh.
Some of those killings include Gambians and other foreigners including 44 Ghanaian migrants.
Many Gambians have been unhappy with the decision which was announced by the attorney General and minister of Justice Abubacarr Ba Tambedou.
Families of victims
Families of some of the victims of the killings carried out by the soldiers have told Africa Feeds that it is a bad signal.
They lament their release could further deepen their pains.
Ayesha Haruun Jammeh whoe father was killed in 2006 by the Yaya Jammeh assassin team said they are protesting the release of the soldiers.
“We are not happy on the procedure the justice minister use to release these people, we feel so insecure in the society with their released .Our life is at risk and we are not happy that these people are released” she told Africa Feeds.
Baba Hydara the son of former Journalist Deyda Hydara who was killed on the 16th of December 2004 said in an interview with Fatu Network that “we feel that is a wrong move to release the killers” of his father.
He doubts if the government will rescind its decision and keep the soldiers in custody.
Hydara said “I wasn’t surprised because the tone he was using on Friday. That day how I listened to what he was saying, it gave me an idea that it was a done deal,” Hydara junior said in an interview with the Fatu Network on Monday.
But the Justice Minister, Abubacarr Ba Tambedou in a statement sort to defend the decision.
He wrote that “I understand that my recommendation for the army to release Mr Malick Jatta, Mr Omar Jallow, and Mr Amadou Badjie, three members of the “Junglers” Patrol Team who testified at the TRRC, has evoked strong emotions among some victims and concerned members of the public.
This reaction is quite understandable especially given the revelations the three men have made at the TRRC about some of their activities under former President Jammeh.”
He continued saying that “the recommendation to release the three men is not an amnesty as some claim. That is totally false. It is only the TRRC that can recommend amnesty in appropriate cases.
At this point, the objective of the release is to put the three men in a similar situation as those who have appeared at the TRRC and admitted to participating in human rights violations and abuses.”
The minister added that “While we all agree that the “Junglers” are a special category of alleged perpetrators, reason they have been the only ones in custody all this time, we cannot also afford to treat similarly situated persons differently.
The three soldier were arrested shortly after Yahya Jammeh left office. They have been in custody without trial for over two and half years.
The government said it is only fair to release them for the meantime while the hearing by the Truth Commission continues.
Yahya Jammeh has been in exile in Equatorial Guinea since his exit from power in 2017. There are campaigns ongoing to get him brought back to the Gambia to face justice.