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Germany arrests Gambian for crimes against humanity

By AFP - Mar 17,2021 - Last updated at Mar 17,2021

BERLIN — A Gambian man has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of being part of an army unit that carried out assassinations on behalf of then Gambian president Yahya Jammeh, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

The suspect, named as Bai L., is accused of crimes against humanity, murder and attempted murder while working as a driver for a so-called patrol team known as the Junglers between December 2003 and December 2006.

“This unit was used by the then president of The Gambia to carry out illegal killing orders, among other things” with the aim of “intimidating the Gambian population and suppressing the opposition”, prosecutors in the city of Karlsruhe said.

The tiny West African state was ruled with an iron fist by autocrat Jammeh for 22 years before he fled in 2017 after losing a presidential election to Adama Barrow, a relative unknown.

The case is being brought on the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows a foreign country to prosecute crimes against humanity, including war crimes and genocide, regardless of where they were committed.

In December 2003, Bai L. is accused of driving members of the group to a location in the Gambian capital Banjul where they were supposed to kill a lawyer.

One member of the group fired several shots at the lawyer but he survived the attack, prosecutors said.

The team is also accused of the 2004 murder of a Gambian journalist who had been critical of the government.

Bai L. is said to have helped the group to stop the journalist’s car on a road in the town of Kanifing, where two members shot him several times.

He is also accused of transporting one of the killers in his own vehicle.

In a third incident in around 2006, Bai L. drove members of the unit to a site near Banjul airport where they shot and killed a suspected opponent of the president, the prosecutors said.

Bai L. was arrested in his flat in the northern city of Hanover in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

 

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