By Bakary Ceesay
Lieutenant Malick Jatta, an army officer with Gambia Armed Forces working for a death squad operating on the orders of former President Yahya Jammeh has admitted to participating in the execution of 50 West African migrants in Gambia in 2005.
On July 22, 2005, Gambian police forces arrested approximately 50-56 foreigners in Barra, a town facing Banjul on the opposite shore of the River Gambia.
Among these migrants were 44 Ghanaians, as many as ten Nigerians, two or three Ivoirians, two Senegalese, and one Togolese.
On Tuesday, Jatta, told the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) that he participated in the killings of the West African migrants.
“We were told they were mercenaries,” he said. “I heard people shouting in the forest saying “safe us Jesus”.” This was after Jatta himself shot and killed one of the migrants. He said after killing one, he felt what they were doing was not right.
“Sadden by it, he went to sit in the vehicle. Shots were still being heard in the forest across the Gambian border into the Senegalese territory,” said Jatta.
Jatta said “Then he saw one of the migrants running to hide at a distance of about 20 meters from him. “I can say I saved this person. If I wanted to kill him, at 20 meters sir, I will not miss my target,” .
Jatta is right that there was one survivor of the incident call Martin Kyere. Jatta’s confession was the public evidence from a participant in the killing tying the former President Jammeh to the death of the migrants. Jammeh has always denied involvement in the killings.
Meanwhile, Jatta has confessed to involvement in 3 executions on Monday including the killing of journalist Deyda Hydara in 2004.
He confessed to participating in the killing of Ghanaians, country’s former intelligence chief Daba Marenah and close to a dozen other people.