Gambia: The TRRC Government White Paper – Thanks President Barrow And…

Banjul — This is a special commendation to the government of President Barrow and members of his cabinet for producing the TRRC White Paper today, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, that in my case has exonerated me from the bias allegations of the commission against me. That is exactly what I expected from the level-headed members of this new government who, thanks to their diligence and sense of righteousness, avoided being associated with such a flawed verdict.

The following is what the commission had recommended in their report to the government against Harry Sambou and I:

(9) Ban Harry Sambou and Samsudeen Sarr from holding public office for five years for their participation in the torture of Omar Dampha and Ballo Kanteh.

But before sharing the final decision of the government on the matter, let us take a moment and scrutinize the rationale behind such an objectionable recommendation. Footage of the testimony of Omar Dampha at the TRRC on December 8, 2020, is still accessible on YouTube; and there is nowhere in his attestation where he had accused me of hurting him let alone torturing him. As a matter of fact the little he had said about me was the life-saving treatment I had accorded them under captivity at the NIA Headquarters. Contrary to the expectation of the lead counsel, Essa Faal, Mr. Dampha had emphatically told the TRRC that their pain and suffering at the NIA Headquarters as captives changed for the best after I went to appraise their condition. That was the moment, he said, when all of them were indeed provided with mattresses to sleep on after they had been sleeping on the cold concrete floor. I also ensured that they were adequately fed after almost being starved to death with literally nothing to eat. So to say that I tortured Omar Dampha when he revealed the opposite was both unfair and shamelessly concocted.

As for Ballo Kanteh, I am glad that the government has recognized his murderous tendency whose crimes against the innocent GNA soldiers in 1996 should have permanently kept him in prison where he was serving a life sentence for killing six of our finest soldiers. He was one person who shouldn’t have been granted amnesty in 2015 when Jammeh unconditionally released the majority of prison inmates in The Gambia.

However, thank God that the following is the final decision of the government in the White Paper from the TRRC recommendation against me:

The Government partially accepts the recommendation of the commission. The Government notes that while Harry Sambou was given the opportunity to testify before the commission Samsudeen Sarr was not afforded a similar opportunity in spite of his well-publicized calls for an opportunity to appear before the commission and respond the allegations leveled against him by Ballo Kanteh. It is the Government’s view that this is inconsistent with his right to fair hearing. The Government further notes with dismay that the commission failed to enquire further into the cold-blooded killing of 6 young soldiers nor did it make any attempt top establish their victimhood and that of their survivors. It is the Government’s position that Corporal Saihou Sidibeh, Corporal Essa Keita, Private Ebrima Manneh, Staff Sgt. Lamin Badjie, Private Bakary Saidy and Private Ebrima Bojang died defending the territorial integrity of The Gambia and shall be given due posthumous honors bin the Gambia Armed Forces. Their survivors shall equally be classified as victims and shall be eligible to receive reparations.

It is indeed gratifying to read the logical analysis of the government in the White Paper questioning why the TRRC availed the opportunity to Harry Sambou to a fair hearing and denied me one even after I had clamorously asked to be invited. Most Gambians in the diaspora have read my book published in 2007 in which the whole incident of the Farafeni attack including the killed and killers was illustrated. Ballo Kanteh was definitely a killer coached to lie against me for vile reasons.

That said, I think the greatest victory goes to the six soldiers on duty that night who were cold-bloodedly murdered by these despicable hombres.

I cannot but applaud the Barrow government for recognizing that the six soldiers were murdered in line of duty and will be posthumously honored by the The Gambia Armed Forces. Through this noble gesture, members of the armed forces have been reassured the government’s commitment to their safety and welfare. The family members of the six victims couldn’t be happier to hear that they will enjoy the reparation budgeted for all victims’ families.

Thanks President Barrow and members of your entire cabinet for a job well done.

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