23 Soldiers Detained Without Trial

Courtesy RFI

Since the end of the regime of former President Yahya Jammeh, soldiers formerly under his command have been regularly arrested. Among them are members of his former secret militia, suspected of serious abuses, but also soldiers who shared their desire to destabilize the country, via a WhatsApp group. Since their arrest, these soldiers have been detained without seeing a judge or lawyer.

Vice-Corporal Sambujang Bojang, has been detained for three months in a military camp for helping a fellow soldier escape. His wife, Sunkaru Jarju, denounced his arbitrary detention without trial.

“Since July 12th, my husband is held by them. He is not tried and is not asked any questions. I want the new government to act differently,” she urged.

For Assan Jammeh’s brother, Abdoulie, he is officially detained for leaving his post without permission.

“They said it’s because he did not go to work. But he’s close to Yahya Jammeh. I know that’s why they arrested him. He has no lawyer. He is given no chance to defend himself. This is not normal,” he insisted.

Nothing is illegal in the arrest and detention of these soldiers, according to Information Minister Demba Jawo. Military Law applies.

“It is true that in the Constitution, we have this length of 72 hours of detention without being presented to a judge. But there is also a Specific Law for the Gambian Armed Forces. And this 72-hour Limit, does not apply, “he argued.

According to the Army Chief, Lieutenant General Masaneh Kinteh: “These are complex issues, linked to the security of the country. There was sufficient justification to go beyond the length of detention. But of course they will not remain incarcerated indefinitely,” he assured.

According to the information from the Gambia National Army, a total of 23 soldiers are currently detained in various military camps within the country.