Alhagie Ceesay and Ebou Jobe had a continued long friendship that started when they were just kids in elementary school. It grew into a brotherhood and stuck together after they left their native Gambia to study in the United States.
The duo traveled back to Gambia after decades of leaving the country hoping to start a software company. Ceesay worked as a technology specialist at Chevron and Jobe as an operations specialist with WalMart.
In Gambia, they were arrested by security forces and the government has since denied having them. It is coming to four years now since they have been last seen by their families.
Gambia was ruled by a tyrant, Yahya Jammeh, who was ousted after losing elections in December. Jammeh was notorious for torturing, killing, maiming and arbitrarily detaining opponents and perceived enemies.
Ceesay and Jobe, who only wanted to create jobs were seen as ‘perceived enemies’ by the paranoid Jammeh, who even refuses to use a smartphone.
Jammeh has fled the country to Equatorial Guinea after regional troops entered the country to depose him. Since then, the truth about the many deaths and missing persons have been coming to light.
“Alhagie Ceesay and Ebou Jobe were killed,” said an intelligence officer, who said the U.S.-Gambians were arrested by the jungulars from a villa in the Kombo metropolitan area, tied up and thrown into the cabin of a waiting military truck.
The jungulars is a special paramilitary force who carried out covert missions and only answerable to former President Yahya Jammeh.
Ceesay and Jobe were taken to the National Intelligence Agency, where they were tortured before being transported to Kanilai, a two-hour drive southeast of the capital, Banjul.
In Kanilai, the home village of President Jammeh, a machete was used to hack them into pieces and their remains were thrown into a crocodile pool.
Famara Jammeh [no relations to President Jammeh], is the son of the former Director of Investigations of the National Intelligence Agency. Sortie said his father, Sukuta Jammeh, had confided in him that Ceesay and Jobe were killed.
For long, the families have held on to the belief that their loved ones are alive and being detained in an island prison in provincial Gambia.
Messages of condolence are being sent to the Ceesay and Jobe families. The former head of the paramilitary hit squad and detention centers, Gen. Bora Colley is being detained by Senegalese authorities.
Activists want those responsible for the human rights abuses during Jammeh’s 22-year rule to be prosecuted, including the head of the National Intelligence Agency, Yankuba Badjie, who is still walking freely around Banjul.
(Reporting and Writing by Sam Phatey; Contribution and Editing by Sainey MK Marenah)