Investigators at work

(JollofNews) – Police investigating the disappearance of Gambians during the regime of former President Yahya Jammeh have started digging up bushes in the Fonis  where they are hoping to find the secret burial places  of some of Mr Jammeh’s victims.

The officers who are accompanied by forensic experts were taken round Santanba Forest near Bajonkoto village, west of Bwiam by former security officers who are currently remanded in prison after they were arrested and charged with murder of Mr Jammeh’s opponents and critics including Solo Sandeng.

According to Lamin Cham of the Standard Newspaper who was part of the journalists covering the event, the detained former security officer pointed out a spot he said is a secret grave which investigators believes contain the remains of Lance Corporal Tumani Jallow and Businessman Abdou Gaye.

Sheriffo  Camara, an uncle to the late Tumany Jallow, said  his nephew was a victim of grave injustice.

He added: “Tumany was a loyal soldier. He was called one day and questioned why one of the suspects of the  arson attack on the APRC Bureau called his number and he told them that since they were co-workers, they naturally have each other’s numbers but he had nothing to do  with  the attack,” Camara said.
Recounting how he took part in the burial of two men, the detainee said: “It was at night when I was called and when I turned up, we came here to bury two people. If I didn’t forget, it is this spot here. But it was at night.”

Forensic experts immediately set to work carefully digging and piling soil on a blue tarpaulin beside the trench. But as work progressed, a second detainee who was driven from Mile Two prisons by heavily armed security officers suggested to the investigators that the grave in question could not have been that near the road.

The investigators halted work at the site and turned their attention to Tintiba Forest, a swampy area near the Dumbuto Firing Range, north-west of Bwiam, where they believe 30th December 2014 coup plotters were buried.

The foreign based coupists entered the Gambia with the expectation that others in the country would join and assist them to overthrow Mr Jammeh’s regime. But as they attempted to storm the presidential palace, they were met with heavy gunfire from security forces, squashing the coup, and killing  Lamin Sanneh, Jaja Nyass, Njaga Jagne and Dawda Bojang. Their remains have never been returned to their families for burial.

The area has been cordoned off and investigators will start digging up the suspected site in the presence of men’s family members in the coming days.