Gambian authorities arrested four former National Intelligence Agency officials, including a medic and erstwhile deputy director, and according to law enforcement officials, they are helping with investigations into allegations of human rights abuses by the agency.
The arrests raise hopes that those that committed human rights abuses including torture and death during former President Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year dictatorial rule will face justice.
The arrest of the operatives: Deputy NIA Director Louis Gomez, agents Haruna Suso and Dawda Ndure, and medical examiner Lamin Sanyang were arrested on Wednesday, a day after the arrest of former Intelligence Chief Yankuba Badjie and Operations Director Sheikh Omar Jagne.
The four arrested on Wednesday are directly connected to the torture-death of a Solo Sandeng, a political activist and member of the UDP party who died at the NIA in April 2016.
Security sources say they are, however, connected to other crimes at the agency.
Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency, a paramilitary group known as the “Jungulers,” and armed units of the Gambian Police Force have been most frequently implicated in the abuses, Human Rights Watch said.
Several victims described torture methods that included severe beatings, rape, near-suffocation with plastic bags, electroshock of body parts including genitals, and dripping melted plastic bags onto the skin.
Victims also described psychological abuse such as prolonged periods in solitary confinement, mock execution, and repeated threats of torture and death.
Rights groups have documented these cases and those responsible for the torture, including intelligence officials who were present or complicit in abuses.