- For most Gambians, especially journalists, politicians, security officers and human rights defenders, the tragic death of Major Musa Jammeh [ a licensed serial killer] on Sunday worths jubilating. His death has been linked to a mysterious illness - exactly the same way his colleague torturer, Tumbul Tamba, had perished some months back.
Jammeh, a former low-ranking soldier, had quickly turned into the most fearful being in The Gambia. He was notorious for leading and directing torture sessions, extra-judicial executions, kidnappings and other forms of human rights violations.
Nicknamed Maliamungu [Idi Amin's serial killer] or Chemical Ali [Iraqi's notorious mass killer], the fallen soldier who was the personal protection officer to President Yahya Jammeh, also headed a secret killer squad [Junglers].
Jammeh's unit, whose members dress in black suits, have been known for inflicting terror on their assailants late at night.
Using vehicles without number plates, Junglers killed countless number of the government's critics and left many others to grapple with the trauma of being maimed for life.
The hit and run squad was accused of having hands in the December 2004 shooting to death of The Gambia's leading newspaper editor, Deyda Hydara. The group was also accused of executing the 52 West African migrants, accusing them of trying to overthrow the government on 23 July 2005.
The torture squad was in full action last year after the government had purportedly foiled a coup by some soldiers at an advanced stage on 21 March. This followed a wave of arrests of security officers, politicians, lawyers and journalists.
Most of the suspects, who never appeared before a court of law, were tortured to death by the Junglers. The five security officers, including the former Director of the National Intelligence Agency, Daba Marena, were among the lists of those summarily executed.
Jammeh's torture victims include journalists of the bi-weekly newspaper, 'The Independent' who still bear marks of the assailants' bayonet wounds.
Despite ratifying the UN Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in last October, torture is still rife in The Gambia, rendering the domestication useless.
Some Gambians wanted Musa to live longer so that he would give an account of his crimes before international criminal courts in future.
Right activists have been at loggerheads with The Gambia government over disappearances, tortures and extra-judicial killings. The country’s officials are expected to face mounting criticisms by human rights activists at the Commonwealth conference in Uganda.
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