Gambia begins probing rights violations of past ruler

First witness produced in trial for human rights violations by former dictator

Gambia begins probing rights violations of past ruler

By Mustapha K Darboe

Banjul, GAMBIA

A commission established to probe human rights violations of Gambia’s former dictator Yahya Jammeh began its first hearing on Monday.

The first session of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission of the Gambia (TRRC) is looking into a chain of events that led to the toppling of the constitutional order by Jammeh.

Ebrima Chongan, a police commander at the time of the coup who trained former ruler Jammeh, was the first witness presented before the commission.

Chongan was among the first 29 senior security officials who were detained by the Junta for over 45 days incommunicado. In September, Chongan and several others were subjected to a mock execution.

A commander of the armed wing of the Gambia Police Force called the Tactical Support Group, Chongan narrated the perceived dissatisfaction in the army that led to the coup.

Meanwhile, several other top government officials, diplomats and victims have attended the opening ceremony.

Abdou Karim Jammeh shot at on April 10 during a student demonstration told Anadolu Agency that the day means “everything to us”.

“This is the most significant day of our transition -- it is an opportunity to correct the wrongs of the past two decades,” activist Pa Samba Jawo told Anadolu Agency.

Amnesty International described the start of the hearing as an “important initial step towards securing justice, truth and reparations in Gambia”.

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