By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Yesterday, 30th November 2023 a German court in Celle convicted former Jungler Driver Bai Lowe for the killing of two people and the attempted assassination of one person after a trial which started back in 2022. German courts convicted Bai Lowe for the murder of journalist Deyda Hydara in 2004, former soldier Dawda Nyassi in 2006 and the attempted murder of lawyer Ousman Sillah in 2003.
Bai Lowe was a soldier who joined the second batch of Junglers after undergoing training. The Junglers were a private para-military assassination squad that reported directly to former President Jammeh via their Commander Tumbul Tamba. This killing squad known as Black Black and Patrol Team executed numerous individuals considered as opponents of the former President.
This publication looks at these three instances and Bai Lowe’s involvement according to the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) and Bai Lowe’s self-incriminating interview with Freedom Newspaper. The TRRC is a defunct Commission which investigated the human rights violations which occurred under the leadership of former President Yahya Jammeh and recommended the prosecution of those who bear the most responsibility which includes members of the Junglers.
Attempted Murder of Ousman Sillah
The failed murder attempt which Bai Lowe was convicted for was recommended by the TRRC. The Commission notes that “Bai Lowe who was a member of the Jungler squad sent to assassinate Lawyer Ousman Sillah would later reveal to Freedom online newspaper how they were ordered by Yahya Jammeh to assassinate Lawyer Ousman Sillah. The Junglers attempted to carry out the plan, but they failed by divine intervention”.
According to Saikou Jallow’s testimony former President Jammeh considered General Saul Badjie a coward because he failed to assassinate Lawyer Ousman Sillah when he had a clear chance to kill him. Saikou Jallow was a former State Guard and Orderly for President Jammeh and Saul Badjie was the Commander of the Republican National Guards, also known as the State Guards.
Speaking to Freedom Newspaper’s now-deceased journalist Pa Nderry Mbai, Bai Lowe revealed his involvement in Ousman Sillah’s assassination attempt. According to Bai Lowe, the battle team “Junglers” was responsible for Ousman Sillah’s assassination attempt. In his own words, Bai Lowe explained that “the battle team (was responsible) for everything. I was a member of the battle team. I cannot exclude myself from it but I was there as a driver”.
Bai Lowe noted that “when Manjang shot him, [Ousman Sillah] prostrated on his seat, — when Bora Colley came to shoot him, he saw that he was lying down, he left him and ran away, on the whole the guy was not dead”.
According to Bai Lowe “it is Bora Colley who got scared (he bottled it). Bora Colley was very religious (a good, practising Muslim). Bora Colley was supposed to finish him but he got scared. When he came to shoot, he ran away, he didn’t do it”.
Giving names of those involved in the assassination attempt Bai Lowe explained that “only Dara was there who is no longer in the job, Bora Colley, Saul Badjie”. In addition to this “Malick Jatta, Sanna Manjang [and] Tumbul Tamba” were also listed as part of the Junglers that carried out the operation.
The Commission notes that this “shows that Yahya Jammeh ordered Ousman Sonko, Tumbul Tamba, Sulayman Badjie, Bai Lowe and others to assassinate Lawyer Ousman Sillah. All of them are responsible for the attempted murder of Lawyer Ousman Sillah”.
Deyda Hydara’s Assassination
The assassination of veteran journalist Deyda Hydara is one of the most high-profile executions during the murderous regime of former President Jammeh. Deyda Hydara was the co-owner of the Point Newspaper and carried a regular column titled “Good Morning Mr President” which raised critical issues on former President Jammeh. The TRRC explained that former President “Yahya Jammeh believed that Deyda Hydara was an obstacle to his plans to entrench himself in power. He ordered the Junglers to assassinate him”.
According to Malick Jatta’s testimony sometime in December 2004, Tumbul Tamba informed the Junglers who had converged in Kanilai that “today we are going for the magic pen”. Malick Jatta alias Alfidie was one of the Junglers who testified before the Commission. The code word Magic Pen was used to conceal their operations and the names of assassination targets. After the briefing, the group of Junglers travelled to the Kombos to hatch their plan where they boarded a Taxi Benz 200 in a garage said to belong to former President Jammeh.
After reaching Traffic Lights where they stopped, “Malick Jatta testified that Tumbul Tamba was in communication over the phone with the President saying, “Yes Sir, and Your Excellency.” He believed that Tumbul was receiving instructions from the President at that point”. This was confirmed by another Jungler’s testimony named Alieu Jeng.
According to TRRC testimonies another group consisting of Malick Jatta, Kawsu Camara (Bombardier) and Manlafi Corr travelled in another Mercedes Benz V Boot 190 Taxi while Bai Lowe served as the driver.
In Bai Lowe’s exclusive interview with Freedom Newspaper, he provided vivid gruesome details on how Deyda Hydara was killed. According to Bai Lowe “no one is behind the killing of Deyda Hydara except Yaya Jammeh. Yaya Jammeh gave the order to kill Deyda Hydara”.
According to Bai Lowe, Ousman Sonko provided information to Jungler Commander Tumbul Tamba. Bai Lowe explained that “the command, Tumbul Tamba will just come and say we should finish this person, then the operation begins. But Ousman Sonko usually coordinates such operations. He tells where the target is situated at any particular point in time. Ousman Sonko does everything”. Speaking on the role of Ousman Sonko, Bai Lowe highlighted that Sonko “was giving information about the target’s location. He was in the intelligence side”.
After receiving information of Deyda’s whereabouts Bai Lowe revealed that they “took the taxies, we went to where Deyda Hydara was approaching from, the guys blocked him with the taxis, Manjang shot him and Malick came and finished him”.
According to Bai Lowe, Deyda Hydara was killed at the Sankung Sillah road close to Police Intervention Unit. Explaining how they tried to conceal the assassination, Bai Lowe told Freedom Newspaper that “you know we have shotguns which Yaya Jammeh gave us. He advised the guys to not use pistols or AK47s because people will know it’s only the soldiers who use such firearms. But the shotguns cannot be traced back to them because they are readily available, also they can be linked to rebels”.
Bai Lowe’s vivid description went as far as to explain perpetrators in the two vehicles. In his vehicle “Mailck Jatta was the only other guy in the car. One would take the lead, the other car follows behind”. The lead car had Sanna “Manjang and the others were the ones there”.
Listing the names of persons involved in the killing of Deyda Hydara, Bai Lowe called out “Tumbul Tamba Warrant Officer 1, Sanna Manjang – Couple, Malick Jatta – Lance Corporal, Bai Lowe – Private, Kawsu Camara (Bombardier) – Staff Sargeant”. He added that “Fally Jabang was also involved in the operation, he was in the intelligence side”.
Dawda Nyassi’s Execution
One killing which the TRRC did not pin on Bai Lowe is that of former soldier Dawda Nyassi. However, the Freedom Newspaper interview revealed Bai Lowe’s self-incriminating testimony which placed him on the scene of Dawda Nyassi’s execution. The TRRC noted that “Dawda Nyassi was one of the Gambian fighters who participated in the Liberian war. He returned to Gambia and Jammeh suspected that he may have been working on plans to overthrow him. Jammeh ordered Junglers to kill him”.
Former Jungler Malick Jatta testified at the TRRC and revealed that “Tumbul Tamba briefed him, Sanna Manjang and Alieu Jeng in Kanilai that there were some dissidents from Liberia who Jammeh brought back, but they were not grateful”. Bai Lowe was not mentioned as one of the persons involved in the killing but his Freedom Newspaper interview revealed more details on his involvement.
According to Bai Lowe, Dawda Nyassi was killed after his friend Gibba provided information about his alleged involvement in a coup attempt against former President Jammeh. He noted how Jungler Commander Tumbul Tamba spoke to Dawda Nyassi who was a native of Bakoteh in Jola and eventually arrested him. In essence, Dawda Nyassi was lured into a trap which Bai Lowe described as “a setup”.
Jungler Driver Bai Lowe revealed to Freedom Newspaper that Dawda Nyassi was executed “behind the [Yundum] Airport, between the Airport and a village called Makumbaya”. Describing how Nyassi was killed Lowe revealed that “he was tied to a tree, — he was saying in Mandinka ‘what did I do?”.
Resolute in their quest to finish off Nyassi, the Junglers “tied [him] up and killed [him] there. They also used a pistol in this occasion”. After killing Nyassi, Bai Lowe told Freedom Newspaper he was buried there beneath the tree.
Giving names of persons responsible for Dawda Nyassi’s killing Bai Lowe listed the names of “Tumbul Tamba, Malick and Alieu Jeng and Sanna Manjang”. In addition, Bai Lowe responded in the affirmative when asked if he was also involved. He confessed to driving the Pick-Up Truck on the operation which ended the life of Dawda Nyassi.
Although the TRRC missed out the name of Bai Lowe in their report, the other names recommended for prosecution for the murder of Dawda Nyassi all line up exactly with the names listed by Bai Lowe in his Freedom Newspaper interview.