Germany charges Gambian over ‘death squad’ killings

March 3, 2022 GMT

BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors say they have charged a Gambian man with crimes against humanity for his role in the killing of government critics in the West African country more than a decade ago.

Federal prosecutors said Thursday that Bai L., whose surname wasn’t released for privacy reasons, was a driver for a patrol team within the Gambian military also known as “Junglers.”

The unit is alleged to have been deployed by The Gambia’s president at the time, Yahya Jammeh, to carry out illegal killings to suppress the opposition and intimidate the public.

The suspect is alleged to have been involved in two killings and one attempted killing. Among them, he drove other members of the death squad to kill a lawyer in the Gambian capital Banjul in late 2003. The lawyer survived with serious injuries.

German prosecutors say the unit killed a journalist in the town of Kanifing in 2004, and in 2006 it assassinated an alleged critic of the president near Banjul’s airport.

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The suspect was arrested in March 2021 and has been detained since.

Human rights groups welcomed the indictment, noting that it is the third prosecution in connection with crimes conducted by the former president’s regime in recent years.

“The long arm of the law is catching up to Yahya Jammeh and his accomplices around the world,” said Reed Brody of the International Commission of Jurists. “Jammeh’s henchmen have been arrested in Germany, Switzerland and the United States, and the Gambian truth commission has called for the prosecution of his accomplices in The Gambia, and of Jammeh himself, now in Equatorial Guinea.”