Major Khalifa Bajinka, a former senior aide to Gambia’s ousted dictator, Yahya Jammeh has died after a prolonged ailment in the United States, family sources say.
Bajinka had been suffering from and bedridden by a reported “chronic pneumonia, been in a coma, and could hear after he woke up but unable to talk” at a hospital in the northeastern city of Boston, Massachusetts.
Banjinka. 48 and his family were offered asylum in 2006 after Jammeh accused the Major of being complicit in the failed March 2006 coup attempt and tried to have him extradited from Nigeria, where he was on training.
According to Wikileaks, The Nigerian government refused, and Bajinka completed his one-year training program.
The United States believes that Mr. Bajinka has knowledge of Jammeh’s nefarious activities, which Washington believes is the reason that Jammeh wants him imprisoned.
Jammeh’s presidential guard unit, which Bajinka once headed has been implicated and primarily blamed for human rights abuses, including torture and killings.
Bajinka first worked in close association with Jammeh from July 1994 to June 1999, when he served as the Aide de Camp (ADC) to the demoralized self-serving ruler.
He returned to the Presidential Palace as a Staff Officer in the Office of the President from August 2003 to March 2004. During both of these tenures, Bajinka remained on good terms with Jammeh, as he was promoted to Commander of the Presidential Guard in March 2004.
Major Bajinka has denied being complicit or taking part in any such activity and denied taking part in any attempt to oust Jammeh in 2006.
It was in this role as Commander that Bajinka fell out of favor with Jammeh. In early 2005, Bajinka learned that Jammeh was independently utilizing members of his Presidential Guard for arrests, torture, destruction of property, and intimidation of
Specifically, Jammeh created a small four-man team, composed of members of the Presidential Guard who were frequently ordered to carry out nefarious tasks.
“When Bajinka learned of the unit’s activities, he ordered his men to stand down on several Jammeh ordered operations, which led to his abrupt reassignment to Army Staff Headquarters in March 2005,” the U.S. Embassy in Dakar noted in a confidential cable to Washington.
U.S. authorities say Bajinka joined the Gambia’s army in 2003 and has studied and earned military degrees or college credit at several universities around the world.