By: Fabakary B. Ceesay
A long-time seasoned senior officer of the Gambia Police Force (GPF), who asked for anonymity, has told the Trumpet Newspaper he had reliable information from a junior officer who was on the ground on the fateful day that eight bodies of West African migrants – most of them Ghanaians – were found dead at the outskirts of Ghana Town in Brufut, on 23 July 2005, nine (9) extra-bodies were buried in a single grave by officers from Police Intervention Unit (PIU), earlier before day break.
The officer also revealed that there was a prior intelligence report that reached the Interpol Unit of the GPF about a ship that anchored in the Gambian waters to smuggle dozens of West African migrants to Spain. He confirmed the ship, indeed, came to the Gambia but left weeks before the migrants were arrested at Barra by Station Officer Jawara Demba.
The then senior Crime officer recalled that on 23 July 2005, while processing a suspect who was arrested in connection to a migrant smuggling case, he received a call from a superior officer to report to Brufut immediately, to supervise over suspected multiple murder cases. He left for the scene with the late Police photographer Alieu Njie and already found officers of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) at the scene, as Trumpet Newspaper was informed.
To his surprise, our informant went on, he noticed a foul play and after taking all the necessary procedures at the crime scene and the bodies loaded in two vehicles, he left for Brufut PIU Station. There, he was unofficially informed by a junior officer who called him aside and confined in him that they (the PIU) received orders in the early morning to bury the corpses. But, as he indicated, they were only able to bury nine bodies under the cover of darkness; that the remaining eight bodies were left unburied due to daybreak and in order to avoid being seen by people.
The informant explained that the officer in question, directed him to a spot where they buried the nine others- not far from where the eight bodies were found. He said he had never visited the area to try to locate the said grave believing that it was a State-managed crime.
An in-depth journalistic investigations carried out by Trumpet, hard on the heels of the testimonies of some of members of the junglers at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), cast doubts to the evidence as to the number of persons killed and where they were dumped.
Comparing and adding the number of migrants arrested in Barra by Officer Jawara Demba, who handed them over to two Navy Commanders, namely Lieutenant Dembo Jarjue and Lieutenant Kujabie, didn’t tally with the numbers revealed at the TRRC. Investigations revealed that Barra Police station diary recorded between fifty-three to fifty-five names.
The evidence, as adduced by Omar ‘Oya’ Jallow, Malick Jatta and Yusupha Sanneh, didn’t match with the numbers taken into custody. There was no evidence as to who were involved in the killing and dumping of the bodies found at Brufut.
However, as the junglers were of a sizeable number, it’s plausible that another batch could be responsible for the killing of those found in Brufut and the alleged nine that were buried in the bushes. It’s also a fact that the killings were done on different dates and places.
The fact that a good number and the cruelest members of the junglers, to wit: Major Nuha Badjie, General Bora Colley, Colonel Kawsu ‘Bombarde’ Camara, Colonel Solo Bojang, Major Sanna Manjang, Captain Modou Rambo Jarjue, Lieutenant Michael Sang Correa, WO1 Nfansu Nyabally, WO2 Ismaila Sambou, Lieutenant Michael Jatta and others, are still at large, mysteries surrounding many deaths and disappearances will remain a hidden history.
By: Fabakary B. Ceesay