By Bekai Njie
Four ‘junglers’ have been released due to lack of evidence, army chief says on Friday. The case of former President Jammeh’s trusted men Gen. Umpa Mendy and Gen. Ansumana Tamba is also set for ruling at the Court Martial after a no case submission was filed, Lt. Gen. Masanneh Kinteh, the Chief of Defence Staff has confirmed.
“On the part of the ‘junglers’ or known as the patrol team, one officer and nine other ranks were arrested in February 2017 in connection with numerous allegations of human rights violations that were perpetrated ranging from torture, enforced disappearances and extra judicial killings,” he said. “Following the first opinion from the AG’s Chambers, it is established that no evidence of commission of offence exist in respect of the under mentioned suspects and that apparently it would be impossible to find evidence linking them to the commission of any offence during their services at the patrol team.”
He said that deemed it necessary to have them released. “As a result the following detainees have been released for lack of evidence,” he went on. “They are WO1 Buso Modou, WO2 Jallow Ablie, WO2Samba Lamin and Staff Sergeant Badjie Lamin.”
The CDS said the matter is to be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Chambers for a second legal opinion to review the case file of the other members of the patrol team that are currently under detention while the Defence Headquarters takes the appropriate actions accordingly.
Kinteh said progress has been made on the case of former President Jammeh’s trusted generals Umpa Mendy and Ansumana Tamba.
“The General Court Martial (GCM 1) the State versus Brigadier General Umpa Mendy and Brigadier General Ansumana Tamba, I want to say that the court is in progress and it’s at the tail end almost. The prosecution had closed their case and the accused persons were supposed to open their defence but their defence lawyer has filed a no case submission,” he said. “The matter is now set for ruling or judgment in the no case submission by the defence on the next adjourned date.”
He said the court martial involving the soldiers who created the “secret WhatsApp chat group code name ‘Ajamat’ or otherwise true friends created with the ultimate intent to overthrow or destabilize the government” allegedly comprising disgruntled elements of the armed forces. He said the case is progressing smoothly as the prosecution has closed their case and the accused persons have entered their defence with the fifth accused to continue with his testimony on the next adjourned date in October. He said three other soldiers were also arrested upon their arrival from Darfur in March earlier this year for their alleged involvement in the said WhatsApp group.
He said the Military Police has conducted and concluded an investigation on the alleged murder of private soldier Babucar Bah in March and the circumstances surrounding his death. He said the matter has been forwarded to a joint investigation team to further ascertain the cause of his death.