Victims of ex-President Yahya Jammeh still await justice ahead of Gambia elections

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Ahead of the presidential elections on December 3 in The Gambia, the country’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) on Thursday concluded a broad three-year public inquiry, recommending prosecution for abuses committed during the former 22-year rule. President Yahya Jammeh. Report by Sarah Sakho and Elimane Ndao from AXADLETM.

Gambians go to the polls to choose a president on Saturday, in the first elections in this poor West African country since ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh fled into exile.

But the shadow of Jammeh, who seized power in The Gambia in 1994 and ruled with an iron fist for 22 years, still hangs over the tiny nation – the smallest in mainland Africa, surrounded by Senegal. Gambian voters are concerned about improving living conditions.

Jammeh was forced into exile in Equatorial Guinea in 2017, after President Adama Barrow, then an unknown relative, beat him at the polls.

But the former dictator retains significant political support in The Gambia, where his supporters pushed on his return.

Therefore, his possible return from exile and how to respond to the litany of alleged crimes during his reign – including rape, torture, use of death squads and state-sanctioned witch hunts. – were central themes of the electoral campaign.

A Gambian woman who had testified before the TRRC about the murder of her husband 27 years ago said that it was impossible for her to mourn because none of the officials in Jammeh’s regime were charged: “He only justice can make us forget, ”she declared.

“The TRRC report is now in Barrow’s hands; he has 6 months to act. It must lead to a trial, ”said Gambian human rights activist Mariama Jobarteh:“ Of course Yahya Jammeh was in charge; he must face justice. So no matter who comes in, we want to see a government that dries the tears of the people. “

Barrow has come under fire since he entered into an alliance with members of Jammeh’s party. But the government wants to ensure that the file progresses.

“The victims don’t have to worry. President Barrow created the TRRC of his own free will, in order to fight for the truth, ”said government spokesman Ibrima Sankareh.

Click on the video player above to watch the AXADLETM report.

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