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TRRC orders former Junta Touray’s arrest over refusal to testify

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Yankuba Touray seated next to the Commission’s witness usher

Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission has ordered the arrest of former junta member Yankuba Touray for refusing to testify at the Commission’s public hearing on Wednesday.

Touray, one of the soldiers who took over power in the Gambia in 1994, was implicated in several killings and tortures at the early days of the coup.

He was accused of involvement in the killing of former Finance Minister Ousman Koro Ceesay and 11 soldiers killed in November 1994.

But Touray said he has a constitutional immunity and cannot be compel to testify before the Commission.

“I therefore have no choice but to order the immediate arrest of Yankuba Touray and to hand him over forthwith to the police station with jurisdiction over this area,” said Commission’s chairman Dr Lamin Sise.

“I invoke my constitutional immunity… Anything that is against the 1997 constitution cannot stand. The 1997 constitution is the supreme law of the country,” said Touray.

“I do not recognize the legitimacy of this Commission when I have a constitutional immunity…”

Touray walked out on the Commissioners and went into a small room where Commission’s witnesses relaxes prior to hearings.

After the Chairman ordered his arrest, he was given another chance by the lead counsel and Touray came in and took oath but he said he would not testify.

Gambia’s Commission has powers equal to the country’s High Court and Yankuba was charged with contempt of court.

Dr Sise said the Commission has issued several summons for Touray to appear before the last one on June 24.

Faal said Yankuba’s case will be referred to the Attorney General Abubacarr Tambadou for prosecution. The Justice Minster Tambadou has played a crucial role in establishing the TRRC and has vowed to deal with anybody who does not cooperate with the Commission.

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