By Landing Ceesay
The former Crimes Management Coordinator of the Gambia Police Force Pa Amady Jallow, while testifying at the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) said Ousman Sonko, the Inspector General of Police in 2005 never wanted him [Jallow] to investigate the death of the West African migrants allegedly killed by Jammeh government.
In his re-collection of the incident in the Gambia, Mr. Jallow said the first two death bodies he saw at the scene were dressed half-naked and their brains were badly broken with blood on their heads, noses and eyes.
“When I saw these bodies at the scene, I was terrified and confused, because I don’t know what to do,” said Mr. Jallow.
He further said that while he left the scene to go to the highway meditating, the then IGP Ousman Sonko, arrived and called him.
“He called me and said Pa Jallow. I said yes sir. And he said come here. I went towards his vehicle, and he asked me- what do you think [about the deaths]? I told him that this is a foul play. He kept quiet and left.”
When asked by the TRRC Lead Council whether the then IGP Ousman Sonko saw the bodies or asked to visit the crime scene before any conversation. Pa Jallow said Sonko, neither visited the crime scene, nor did he ask to visit there before their conversation.
Mr. Jallow said while he was standing on the highway after the IGP left, Landing Badjie commonly called 13 Badjie who later served as IGP also arrived from Tanji Area, and whispered in his ears and told him to be careful of this case and, he left.
“When I went back to the crime scene, we arranged for an ambulance to take the bodies to the mortuary and we took them there,” Mr. Jallow told the Truth Commission, “while at the mortuary, I searched the bodies and found foreign currencies on these people. I wrapped each of their monies on a paper and placed it on them. I called Ousman Sonko the then IGP, and told him that we found foreign currencies on these people, but before I finished, he hanged up the call.”
When asked what did he think when Ousman Sonko hanged up the call, Pa Jallow responded that he believed the then IGP doesn’t want to listen to what he was saying.
“I called all my commanders on Monday morning and briefed them on what happened during the weekend. I later sent them to Brufut for a fact-finding mission and asked them to report back.”
“after dispatching my commanders for a fact-finding mission in Brufut, I called the IGP (Ousman Sonko) and informed him about this, but before I finished, he hanged up the call. So, I was confused and frustrated. Then, I insisted and called him again and said sir, I think we should issue a press statement. Then he hanged up the phone again without saying yes or no.”
The witness said Sonko percieved him as a big problem because he didn’t have any iota of doubt that he [Jallow] was aware of the case.
“The IGP never wanted me to go deep into the investigation, and he was not telling me to stop investigating, and I was also going ahead with it.”
“As I was trying to connect the dots between the Spanish government letter to the Foreign Affairs Ministry regarding a ship in the Gambians Water that is here to transport migrants to Spain.”
“The then Deputy IGP knocked at my door and I opened it. I complimented him and he told me that things didn’t break at a right way. And I asked what happened? He said you are transferred with immediate effect. Then I take a paper that I took from the former CMC, then I started to prepare my handing over to my successor. I asked the Deputy IGP about my successor, he told me that Jatta Baldeh will replace him as the CMC then I complied.”
Mr. Jallow said he believed that the subject of his investigation prompted his immediate transfer.
“By the time I’m done with preparing my handing over note, the commanders I sent to Brufut for a fact-finding mission arrived. They wanted to report to me, but I told them that I am transferred with immediate effect. They asked me what happen. I told them that I don’t know,” Pa Jallow told the Truth Commission.
Pa Amady Jallow was the Crimes Management Coordinator at the Gambia Police Force at the time of the alleged killings of more than 50 West African migrants mainly Ghanaians. They were perceived as mercenaries who were in the country to topple Jammeh government.