The Gambian government has publicly addressed surging calls for former president Yahya Jammeh to return from exile in Equatorial Guinea.
According to Minister of Justice Abubacarr Tambadou, the former president will be arrested and charged with crimes committed during his over two decades in charge.
The Minister did not spell out what charges will be leveled against Jammeh even though a government commissions – on reconciliation and finances – have revealed gross rights abuses and pillaging of public funds through the better party of Jammeh’s 22-years in office.
After over a year of hearings into the Jammeh dispensation: “it can no longer be ruled out that crimes against humanity have been committed in The Gambia,” the Minister is quoted to have said.
The Minister was speaking over the weekend at the opening of the judicial year in the capital Banjul. President Adama Barrow was the special guest of honour at the event.
Members of Jammeh’s APRC party held a protest last week demanding that the government implements an 2017 agreement that spelt out conditions under which Jammeh could return from exile.
The former president fled in January 2017 under threat of regional military intervention. He had attempted to unilaterally overturn an election loss to then president-elect Adama Barrow.
The West African country has had a protest-filled last few months. First was by a group demanding that the president fulfills a promise to serve three-years in a post Jammeh government.
Subsequently a group calling for Barrow to see out his five-year constitutional mandate also marched through the streets. The pro-Jammeh march was the third whiles activists have planned a fourth one to counter that of Jammeh’s party.
A group representing victims of the Jammeh regime say they will march to protest against his return and that even if he does that he be arrested on charges of rights abuse – torture, killings, sexual assault – which littered his presidency.