Remains of U.S. army veteran killed by West African dictator exhumed

Jagne becomes an American citizen in Baghdad. At left is General George W. Casey, then the commander of the multinational force in Iraq; at right is Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, then the commanding general of the Multinational Corps in Iraq.

West African authorities in the small nation of The Gambia unearthed the remains of a two-time Iraqi war veteran who was killed by the country’s former dictator, Yahya Jammeh.

Captain Njaga Jagne traveled to his native Gambia with a handful of former soldiers, including a former Gambian presidential guards commander, Lt. Col. Lamin Sanneh, to oust the longtime ruler and restore democracy and the rule of law.

The putsch was crushed after Cpt. Jagne, Lt. Col. Sanneh and Sgt. Alhagie Nyass were killed during the attack on the Gambia’s presidential compound.

They expected very little resistance but instead found themselves ambushed in a heavily fortified palace.

They were buried at a firing range in the middle of a forest in Gambia’s southern Foni district, some few miles outside the former dictator’s private residence in Kanilai, close to the Gambian border with Senegal.

Pathologists are examining the bodies of the men who were buried in a mass grave. Authorities say the corpses will be returned to the families for proper burial.

The U.S. prosecuted four of it citizens, who are also native Gambians for taking part and supporting the coup for violating the neutrality act.

Gambians regarded them as heroes and support calls by Jagne’s families to have a military burial for the U.S. veteran in his home state of Kentucky, where he works with other veterans who were having difficult times.

Jammeh was defeated in the December elections and fled after West African troops advanced towards the capital to oust him. He has been accused by rights groups of torturing, killing, maiming and kidnapping his perceived enemies since coming to power in a 1994 coup.

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