Editorial: The Arrest of Former Junta Member Yankuba Touray sends the right message

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The arrest of former member of the July 22nd junta and minister of local government and lands Yankuba Touray sends the right message. As the TRRC embarks on its historic unearthing of the truth on what happened during two decades of dictatorship in the Gambia, the stories being narrated by witnesses cannot and must not be compromised.  The Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission is embarked on a serious inquiry and investigations into the atrocities and human rights violations of the former military regime.

The commission into it’s second session of sittings has brought both victims and perpetrators of gross human rights violations and crimes committed by none other than Gambians. So far two witnesses has come out to admit personal involvement in torture and killings of citizens after the July 22nd Military takeover through the November 11th Military coup. The revelations so far are shocking and unbelievable that Gambians would commit such crimes against their fellow citizens early on in the Jammeh regime.

One of the most shocking stories is the revelation by former Army Corporal and killer Alhagi Kanyi who alleged that former Junta Vice President Edward Sighateh, his brother Peter Sighateh and Yankuba Touray brutally killed former civilian Minister Ousman Koro Ceesay. Kanyi admitted that he was an eye witness and took part in the killing of the minister. His narration of the gruesome killings is beyond anything one can comprehend. Worst, he has neither given nor allude to the reason why the young civilian minister was killed at Yankuba Touray’s resident and his car burned to asses several miles away from where the killing happened.

Kanyi revealed that Yankuba Touray and former Jammeh praise singer and speaker of the house Fatoumata Jumpa Ceesay contacted him prior to his testimony urging him to denounce the TRRC and refuse to testify. This is a clear violation of the TRRC ACT and an attempt to tamper with witnesses. The TRRC’s immediate demand to arrest Yankuba Touray and potentially FJC is the right thing to do and it sends a clear message that any attempt to tamper with witnesses would be met with legal action and perpetrators must face the full fledged of the law.

The Gambian people went through hell for over two decades and everything that happened; the killings, human rights violations, rapes, tortures and institutional failures all must be fully accounted for. It is only through the full revelation of what transpired and finding the reason for why it happened that Gambians can face the truth and deal with the pain and pave a way for accountability and eventual forgiveness. This process must be allowed to take its course without interference from any citizen or institution.

It is worth noting that people like Yankuba Touray and Fatoumata Jahuma Ceesay are some of the most selfish citizens who served in the Jammeh regime. Not only was Yankuba Touray a part of the military Junta who overthrew the government and allegedly involved in several killings and human rights violation, but he continued to enjoy the brutality of the Jammeh regime while he went about his life creating huge businesses while the Gambian people continue to go through hell. Yankuba Touray despite being humiliated time and again by Jammeh continued to participate in helping the regime perpetuate itself in power. He demonstrated unpatriotic savagery ignoring everything that goes on in that country without any concerns. For him to attempt to tamper with witnesses is an effort to continue to sabotage TRRC’s work in establishing the truth. In fact Mr. Touray like the NIA Nine should be charged with alleged murder.

Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay is equally an unpatriotic citizen who only cares about herself. She is nothing but a selfish, low self esteem citizen willing to bend backwards to earn undeserved privileges. She was a boot leaker to the Jammeh regime and despite being fired and humiliated over and over again by Jammeh she continued to worship the dictatorship. She is not worthy of sympathy and she must also face the full fledged of the law. If all women were like her Gambia would have been on flames. How dare she attempts to tamper with witnesses is something she must be held accountable for. In fact, it is likely that she may allegedly attempt to tamper with other witnesses prior to contacting Alhagie Kangi. She is notorious and would do anything to earn privileges from authorities.

The TRRC must continue to send a clear message that no amount of witness tampering and or sabotage would be accepted from any citizen or authority. It must make it clear to the justice department and the government that it is an independent body and therefore its work must not be compromised from any entity. So far the TRRC is doing a great job and on track to record a remarkable success if it doesn’t allow such interference from any from any citizens. If they fail to send a clear message just into a third of covering the period being investigated, their work will be hampered and more witnesses will turn away. The arrest of Yankuba Touray therefore is a clear indication that the TRRC is serious about its work and it must not allow any form of interference. Gambians are bracing for more revelations as we move towards the Student Massacred in April 10th & 11th 2000, the killings of Journalist Deyda Hydara among other serious crimes committed against Gambians.

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