Yahya Jammeh came to power as a 29 years old young officer in a military coup in 1994 and has since ruled the country with iron fist until December 3, 2016 when he was defeated by a former Gambian store security guard from the UK who became a strong opposition leader.
Washington, DC – Defeated Gambian president Yahya Jammeh will soon become a prison, from head of state to a common prisoner if he refuses to cede power peacefully to the President-elect Adama Barrow, winner of the December presidential election in the tiny West African nation.
Jammeh has been accused of restricting press freedom and gunning down journalists, including Deyda Hydara, Ebrima Manneh and others critical of his regime.
On 10 and 11 April 2000, his government was accused of the killing of 12 students and a journalist during a student demonstration to protest the death of a student in the Gambia. Jammeh was accused of ordering the shooting of the students, but the government denied the allegations.
Newspaper reports list dozens of individuals who have disappeared after being picked up by men in plain-clothes, and others who have languished under indefinite detention for months or years without charge or trial.
In April 2016, at least 50 people were arrested during a demonstration, and there were fears that Solo Sandeng, an opposition politician, died alongside two others while being held in detention. In July 2016, a Gambian opposition leader and another 18 people were sentenced to three years in jail for participation in the April demonstration.
In March 2009 Amnesty International reported that up to 1,000 Gambians had been abducted by government-sponsored “witch doctors” on charges of witchcraft, and taken to detention centers where they were forced to drink poisonous concoctions. On 21 May 2009, The New York Times reported that the alleged witch-hunting campaign had been sparked by President Yahya Jammeh, who believed that the death of his aunt earlier that year could be attributed to witchcraft.
Jammeh has also been linked with the 2004 massacre of 44 Ghanaian migrants and 10 other ECOWAS nationals. The information was relayed to Mr. Jammeh, who was then celebrating the bloody coup that brought him to power. Without any proper investigation, the coup maker ordered his men to kill the Ghanaians.
The soldiers, acting upon the instructions of their Commander in Chief, handcuffed the Ghanaian immigrants, and took them to a location, which was later identified as the President’s family home, and were subjected to severe torture.
During this time, two of the Ghanaians managed to escape, but one of the escapees was later arrested and slashed into pieces with a machete by one of the soldiers. The soldiers then collected the pieces of human flesh and put them in a sack, apparently as evidence to show to Yahya Jammeh that the job had been successfully executed.
The rest of the so-called Ghanaian mercenaries were transported into a forest and killed. One of them, however, managed to escape to Senegal, and later returned to Ghana to break the news about the killings.
A soldier currently serving in the Gambian Army has come out to make a chilling confession that it was President Jammeh who ordered the killing of the Ghanaians.
He also told the local media, on condition of anonymity, that President Jammeh also ordered the killing of the Associated Press (AP) correspondent in Banjul, Deyda Hydara, some years ago,
In May 2015, in defiance of western criticism Jammeh intensified his anti-gay rhetoric, telling a crowd during an agricultural tour: “If you do it [in the Gambia] I will slit your throat – if you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it.”