BANJUL, Gambia 

A new evidence shared by a former director of operations at Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency has linked former President Yahya Jammeh to the July 2005 killing of 51 West African migrants in the small West African country.

The migrants, including around 44 Ghanaians, nine Nigerians, two Togolese, and nationals of the Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Gambia, were killed over several days in the West African country.

In July 2019, five hitmen allegedly operating on the orders of the former leader Jammeh confessed to the participation in their executions.

But an accurate registration of their names as they were arrested and placed under the custody of the Gambian authorities was never found and records made at the Gambian naval base where the migrants were temporarily detained were reportedly destroyed.

However, over the course of the week, evidence produced before the country’s Truth Commission investigating the former ruler’s human rights records showed the migrants were arrested by Gambian authorities in a coastal settlement, Barra, about 9 miles from Banjul and transported to the capital on a navy boat.

On Thursday afternoon, the country’s army chief at the time Assan Sarr admitted to the commission that he ordered the then-navy commander Sarjo Fofana to facilitate the transportation of the migrants to the naval base in Banjul on a navy boat, GNS Fatima.

The migrants were reportedly tortured at the naval base and transported to various police stations and safe houses outside of Banjul, said Ebrima Jallow, a driver who took them on a 36-seated bus. Jallow also appeared before the commission on Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, late Thursday evening, Gibril Ngorr Secka, the former director of operations, for the first time shared a list of names of migrants as was recorded by him and his team on July 23, 2005 at Kairaba Police Station located some 19 minutes drive from Banjul.

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