Probe into Gambia’s ex-despotic ruler’s crimes dented

Probe into Gambia’s ex-despotic ruler’s crimes dented

The Gambia is facing difficulties with investigations into alleged human rights abuses and crimes against the state by its ex-leader, Yahya Jammeh.

Authorities in the small West African nation lack the resources and the manpower to continue the probe into Jammeh’s alleged killings and enforced disappearances, according to the UN.

At least 35 people, suspected of being arbitrarily arrested and detained by Jammeh’s regime still remain missing, including a journalist, Chief Ebrima Manneh.

Many opponents of Jammeh were tortured to death and buried in unmarked graves, some of which have been uncovered by the police.

One such grave is that of an opposition activist, Ebrima Solo Sandeng, who led an anti-government protest outside the capital last year.

Police arrested nine intelligence officers, including the ex-spy chief for his tortured-killing and have charged them with murder.

Some of the graves are mass graves and the police do not have the tools and technical know-how to help properly identify the bodies.

“There are however some obstacles in the identification of the bodies due to the lack of adequate technical means and resources, notably for appropriate DNA testing,” the UN said.

“The government should also be proactive in the identification of new mass graves, and provide the necessary equipment to probe their location.”

Gambia’s police have received some technical training and equipment from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations and had received some help from French forensic experts.

Dozens of Gambian soldiers, part of Jammeh’s special forces accused of taking part in human rights abuses and with first-hand knowledge of the victims have fled.

Adama Barrow, the opposition coalition candidate, won presidential elections held on December 1, and Jammeh and was forced to flee to Equatorial Guinea by West African troops.

Amnesty International has urged the government President Adama Barrow to end arbitrary arrest, detention, and torture, strengthen the justice system and take steps to abolish the death penalty.

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