Gambian authorities have called for calm after former Junta member Yankuba Touray has refused to testify before the Truth Commission, an act that aroused huge public anger.
Touray, a former Local Government Minister is implicated in several atrocities including the allege murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay. Following Touray’s arrest and detention at the Kairaba Police Station, an angry mob stormed the station demanding his appearance before the Commission.
Government said there will be justice for the past crimes but people must be patient and avoid all temptations of a mob justice.
Below is the entire statement:
Following the unfortunate incident involving Captain Yankuba Touray (Rtd), a former minister and member of the defunct Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) junta and the TRRC yesterday, The Gambia Government appeals to all citizens to remain calm, be law-abiding at all times and respect Mr. Touray’s constitutional rights to due process and fair hearing.
While The Gambia Government takes Mr. Touray’s conduct before The Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) as seriously provocative, belligerent, cowardly and regrettable, citizens are reminded that the culture of mob justice associated with the past dispensation is not consistent with the democratic values and aspirations of the Gambian people that led to a peaceful democratic change in December 2016. Therefore, citizens are urged to always remember that the Barrow government respects the rights of all citizens and accused persons to fair trial no matter how heinous the crimes they may have committed and all accused persons are presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
Members of the public are therefore, urged to resist the temptation to be violent as evident in the unfortunate spectacle that unfolded at the Kairaba Police Station where an angry mob armed with projectiles and sticks threatened to hurt Mr. Touray following his cowardly refusal to cooperate with the TRRC.
The Gambia as a democratic country respects the sanctity of human life, the rule of law and constitutional due process and has strong institutions and legal instruments that are better suited to deal with all cases no matter how complicated. It is therefore wrong, ill-advised and illegal for members of the public to take the law into their own hands to settle scores with alleged human rights violators.
The Gambia Government reiterates its condemnation in the strongest terms Mr. Yankuba Touray’s actions as shameless, an affront to the conscience of the nation and utterly insensitive to his victims and their loved ones.
Equally, President Adama Barrow reiterates his unflinching support to the TRRC, the victims and families of past human rights violations and urges all potential TRRC witnesses to respect the letter and spirit of the Commission and be totally truthful in their testimonies.
Accordingly, members of the public are assured that Yankuba Touray’s actions will not go unchallenged.
Meanwhile, Touray remains in protective police custody for his own safety and The Gambia Government applauds the bravery and diligence of the police and security forces for the discipline and superb sense of professionalism demonstrated during the incident.
Ebrima G Sankareh
The Gambia Government Spokesperson