Warrant Officer Class 1, Alieu Jeng, a member of the “junglers” squadron has admitted before the TRRC that he has participated in the killing of Deyda Hydara, a co-proprietor of The Point Newspaper.
Testifying before the TRRC on Thursday, “jungler” Jeng said the killing of Hydara was his second operation as a “jungler”. He told the TRRC while in Kanilai, he was called by Tumbul Tamba to get set for operation though he was not briefed about the mission. He said he got into Tumbul Tamba’s vehicle at a garage in Kombo where he called a driver who brought him a Mercedes Benz commercial taxi and they changed vehicle. He said in the taxi, he was with Tumbul Tamba, Malick Jatta and Sanna Manjang. He said when they arrived in Westfield, Tumbul parked the taxi and he was communicating to someone and was looking for information from that person. He said the vehicle was standing there for about an hour and left after getting the information needed. He said they followed the vehicle late Hydara was driving from the Kairaba Avenue to Westfield and caught him around the Mobile Police headquarters.
He said: “Tumbul Tamba gave Sanna Manjang, Malick Jatta and I each a pistol but he asked me not to shoot because I was sitting at the left side of the vehicle and this was for the safety of Malick Jatta who could have been a casualty if I had shot because the window was small. Malick Jatta was sitting on the right and I was sitting on the left.”
After several questions asked by the Lead Counsel, the witness admitted shooting Deyda Hydara.
“We were acting under command. I couldn’t have done that by myself,” the witness said.
“The orders followed the chain of command. I acted only under the orders of Tumbul Tamba who was part of the State Guard. There was no way Tumbul could have instructed us to kill people without having authorization from Yahya Jammeh,” Jeng said.
He said he was born on 2nd July 1979 in Banjul. After graduation from school in 1996, he joined the NYSS doing a course in carpentry and became a constructor. He joined the Gambia Armed Forces on the 1st February 2001 and was deployed to the Fajara Barracks after completing the recruitment training. He said he did a 5 – month commando training organized by the State Guard and the trainers were Libyans and some Gambian commandos who were trained in Libya where their instructors included Sanna Manjang, Malick Jatta, among others.
He told the TRRC that after the training, he was expecting to go back to his post under the Gambia National Guard but he was asked to stay at the State House.
“I just read it on the notice board that we are now part of the State Guard,” he said, adding that this was in 2002 under the Delta Company under Alieu Ceesay as the company commander.
He said when he was in the Delta Company, they were responsible for the internal guard of the State Guard and they set up checkpoints at the airport, Denton Bridge and the State House. In 2003, he said the members of the Delta Company were all deployed to Kanilai shouldered with the responsibility of the residence of the former President.
He said while in Kanilai, his first engagement with the Patrol Team officers was when he was called by Tumbul Tamba and told that they were going for a mission, adding that Tumbul told him that he should be responsible for security of their vehicle during the operation. He said at this time, Tumbul was with Malick Jatta and Sanna Manjang.
He said the Patrol Team was formed after their second operation. On how the Patrol Team was formed, Jeng said one day he was called at Tumbul’s office together with some State Guard soldiers. He said Tumbul told them that the Patrol Team will be responsible for the patrol of the borderline. He said the meeting was attended by himself, Malick Jatta, Tumbul Tamba, Sanna Manjang, Nuha Badjie, Mustapha Sanneh, Fansu Nyabally and Michael Jatta.
“All members of the Patrol Team trained as commandos. Some people call them ‘Junglers’ but I am not a ‘jungler’ because I didn’t train as a ‘jungler,” the witness said.
He said there was also another patrol team from the State Guard who were also doing patrol and were called the ‘Junglers’ and, according to him people still believed that it was the same team continuing.
He said on their first mission, he was with Sanna Manjang, Tumbul Tamba and Malick Jatta. He said they left Kanilai and came to Churchill Town around the Serrekunda School where Tumbul Tamba picked a man and drove around the neighborhood of the Airport. He said at one point, Tumbul Tamba stopped the vehicle and asked him to be in the vehicle while he went with the man.
“When they came back, they did not come back with the man. When I inquired about the man, I was told not to ask questions about things I don’t participate in,” he said, adding that he was told that it was a military rule.
He said he went to this mission unarmed as he denied having participated in the killing of the man believed to be Dawda Nyassi.
“I didn’t hear any gunshots. I don’t see how Dawda Nyassi was killed. They left me in the vehicle while they took the victim inside the bush,” the witness said, in response to the lead Counsel’s suggestion that in fact, he shot at Dawda Nyassi.
After going over his police statement, the witness told the Commission that his earlier statement was not true. He said Dawda Nyassi was shot in his presence by Tumbul Tamba and Malick Jatta.
“I participated in the killing of Dawda Nyassi. I fired at him,” he said.
He denied participating in the killing of Ndongo Mboob.
“Definitely, I was not present there. I just heard about it. For that event, I have no knowledge about it,” Jeng said.
Killing of Haruna Jammeh
The witness denied having participated in the killing of Haruna Jammeh, a brother to the ex-President Yahya Jammeh.
Killing of Ghanaians
He denied participating in the killings of the Ghanaians. He said he participated in the killings of Ebou Lowe, Alpha Bah, Masireh Jammeh, Daba Marenah and Malafi Corr. Additionally, he said he has participated in the killing of another group of people by providing them an escort to the bush where they were killed.
“I don’t know anyone of those we killed. They were brought to us by men in civil clothes,” he said, adding that he was the one taking them to Malick Jatta and Omar Jallow alias Oya who were killing them using guns.
He said he does not know whether they were Ghanaians or not.