Gambia’s minister of Justice has warned that former dictator Yaya Jammeh, will be arrested and prosecuted should he step foot in the country.
The declaration was made by the country’s justice minister Abubakar Tambadou. Coming days after Jammeh’s supporters protested to call for his return. The minister noted that the government will waste no time in arresting and trying the exiled former head of state.
“If former President Yahya Jammeh, ever comes back to this country, he will face immediate arrest and charges of the most serious kind,” Tambadou said at the opening of the judicial year.
He said after almost a year of investigations into abuses under Jammeh “it can no longer be ruled out that crimes against humanity have been committed in The Gambia.”
Jammeh ruled The Gambia for 22 years before losing to new president Adama Barrow in the 2016 election, but a stand-off that brought the country to the brink of war, led to Jammeh leaving to Equitorial Guinea where he is living in exile.
Mr Tambadou went on to assure the victims that “There will be accountability of the highest order for these crimes and assure you that it is now only a question of when, and not if.”
Leaked WhatsApp audio this month revealed that Yaya Jammeh has been in touch with his supporters constantly. He has been encouraging them to push for his return, although he had asked for that to be done in a peaceful way but also told them to defend themselves should in case theirs any trouble.
He has assured his supporters of his return to the country very soon and that has caused panic within the Barrow administration which is also having issues with the ruling coalition.
Barrow recently launches his own party to enable him seek re-election in 2021, going against an agreement with the ruling coalition that brought him to power.