For the safety of the TRRC witnesses, Commission members and its support staff, acting serving members of the armed forces implicated in murder and other right abuses during the reign of dictator Jammeh’s rule, should be placed on an administrative leave, pending the completion of the Commission’s findings, said a former Gambian soldier. The reason being, he went on, it will help to avert any attempt on the side of the former alleged perpetrators to take the law into their own hands while having access to ammunition. Our country, he says, is going through a historic movement—with the ongoing disturbing revelations of torture, rape and murder of its citizens emerging from the TRRC.
It has been gathered that the recent revelations have angered some of the soldiers—particularly those who have been named and others yet to be named as former perpetrators of murder during Jammeh’s rule, he added. The former soldier said: “The soldiers have started talking. Some are saying that they cannot afford to live with the shame and embarrassment of being named at the Commission as killers. These are armed soldiers. If not suspended, they posed as a danger to the country. I am concerned about the safety of the witnesses appearing before the Commission—given the threatening remarks coming out of the barracks. Some of the accused soldiers are not happy that their names are coming up before the Commission.”
Some of the soldiers and officers linked to murder continue to man key positions in the army. They have access to arms and ammunition, he remarked.
President Adama Barrow recently said his government is committed to observing what he called “due process.” What he meant by “due process” is by not firing the accused soldiers and officers without the Commission coming up with an adverse findings against them.