Gambia’s truth commission have unraveled skeletons including graphic details of how ghastly killings were carried out.
Families of victims are churned to the stomach upon learning how their relatives were murdered through confessions of killers testifying before the commission.
Most horrendous of these is the savage annihilation of Haruna Jammeh purportedly on the orders of former president Yaya Jammeh.
Described as bosoms in their formative years up and even after Jammeh got installed as chairman later to be head of state following the 1994 takeover, the two were reported to be quite close.
A restaurant worker, Haruna is related to Jammeh as cousins and worked in the latter’s farm as manager and general overseer of home town Kanilai – a tiny village close to Senegal’s border, home to Yaya.
However, a spat between them ensued, reported to be over the death of a herdsman leading to Jammeh ordering Haruna’s arrest and detention in 2005 at NIA headquarters.
In the narration of Malick Jatta – a self-confessed hit man for Jammeh -Haruna had told his cousin Jammeh, to his face, that he was being framed up by detractors and “blood is thicker than water”.
Killed by “Friends” Who Ate at His Home
Haruna is described a loving man,”the exact opposite of Jammeh” by friends who’ve known the pair from the time Yaya was a soldier following the amalgamation of the Gambian army.
In a previous interview, the late Haruna’s family revealed how Jammeh was helped with fare for transportation by the cousin he would later killed.
In the year that would follow, up until the time Jammeh established a hit-squad detailed to carry out killings, Haruna is known to have severely warned his cousin brother leader against his repressive actions.
Said to be a people’s person, the deceased has been known to be an open individual and gave free food to soldiers, some of whom, in a twist of irony, will plot and implement his execution.
Taking turn to explain how the killing was done, Oyaa (Omar Jallow), one of the killers, told commissioners investigating the death, he was asked by the late Tumbul Tamba to go with fellow hit-man Solo Bojang and picked up Haruna, detained at the feared spies headquarters.
The unsuspecting Haruna was sandwiched in a car by Oyaa and Alieu Jeng and driven to location for his eventual execution.
“At some point, he (Haruna) just hit me and said ‘where are we going?’ and I said ‘we’re going to Kanilai’. So we proceeded,” Oyaa said.
Telling of how the vehicle took a detour just at approach of Kanilai into a forest, Jallow said Solo stopped the vehicle and Sanna Manjang (chief of the hit-squad) alighted pulling out a rope and gave it to him and Jeng.
“So we tied the neck. But at that time I was not informed that this was the mission, that we were going to kill Haruna. I thought they were threatening him. “So we tied his neck and Sanna Manjang told us to [wrestle] him down. We [wrestled him down]. He asked us to pull the rope and we pulled the rope. He (Manjang) was just sitting on top of the car. He jumped from that place and stamped (on Haruna’s neck] and he died,” Oyaa reveals as Haruna’s family, witnessing the proceeding live, ran out of the room weeping profusely.
“The all three of you killed him?” lead counsel Essa M. Faal of the investigating commission asked.
“Yes Counsel,” Jallow replied.
“You used to eat at his house?”
“You were friends with him?”
“He helped you?”
“You executed him in cold blood?”
“Yes Counsel,” Omar replied.