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Gambian hiding in Germany arrested for crimes against humanity

Germany: prosecutors arrested a Gambian national who had been taken into custody on Tuesday for crimes against humanity. His apartment was searched over alleged crimes against humanity, murder and attempted murder.  According to a statement from the Federal Public Prosecutor General’s office in Hanover the arrest warrant had been issued on 3 March.

The individual, named only as Bai L., was accused of being part of a military unit used to carry out kill orders at the behest of then-president, Yahya Jammeh.

The man is accused of belonging to a so-called ‘Patrol Team” of the Gambian military know as the ‘junglers’. The military unit was used by the president at the time to execute illegal kill orders among other things. This was all in effort to intimidate the Gambian population and suppress opposition.

Ex president Yahya Jammeh ruled The Gambia for more than two decades. The ruler was accused of orchestrating death squads and state sponsored witch hunts as well as torture and rape.

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Jammeh is accused of having stolen millions of dollars from the country’s coffers to fund a life of luxury. Upon leaving office, his assets were frozen by many countries and he went into exile.

The defendant was allegedly part of carrying out three liquidation orders from Jammeh, including a hit on a lawyer in Banjul, Gambia’s capital, in December 2003. Bai L. is accused of driving the vehicle with other members of the Junglers to the scene of the attack. The lawyer was shot by one of the men, but he survived the murder attempt.

In 2006, members of the unit shot dead an alleged opponent of the Gambian president near Banjul airport. Bai L. transported the other accomplices to the scene.

Among those targeted was a journalist, Deyda Hydara, who was critical of the government, murdered in 2004, and a lawyer who survived an ambush a year earlier.

Journalist Deyda Hydara who was assassinated in 2004.

Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission was set up in October 2018 to investigate alleged abuses under his 22-year rule.

In July 2019, a former soldier implicated Jammeh in Hydara’s death, saying he called for him to be assassinated.