By Baba Sillah
On 21 June 2013, two Gambian-Americans, Alhagie Ceesay 39, and his friend Ebou Jobe 41, disappeared during a visit to The Gambia. They have not been seen or heard of since. Their family members and the US government have repeatedly demanded The Gambia government explain their whereabouts but the Banjul authorities strenuously denied knowledge of what happened to them.
According to press reports, the pair returned to The Gambia in May 2013 expecting to stay for a few months to begin work on a new cashew business.
Based on eye witness accounts, on the particular night, while returning to their apartment, Gambian security personnel stopped them, pulled them out of their car, handcuffed and led them away.
The Standard investigation team can now shine a light on exactly what happened to the two men.
Staff Sergeant Omar A Jallow from Chogen village in Baddibu, father of five and married to two wives was part of former President Jammeh’s hit squad ‘The Junglers’. After Jammeh lost power, Jallow was arrested on 23 February at the Fajara Barracks by the military police and delivered to police investigators in Banjul.
During interrogation Staff Sgt Jallow said sometime in 2013, a fellow Jungler, Warrant Office Malick Manga, informed him of a mission that night. He said they converged at their base in Kerr Serign and Major Nuha Badjie [senior Jungler] briefed them about two Gambian-Americans who hired a place along Senegambia Highway and planned to fit it with sniper guns to shoot President Jammeh when he passes by.
He said that night, they mounted a checkpoint by the AU Building on the highway and arrested the two men in a car with two girls. He explained: “We took them to their residence…conduct a search in their house but no weapon was found and cash was found there in foreign currency and some Gambian dalasis which we shared amongst us and each got about D2,000.00. This [sic] said Gambian-Americans were initially detained at [Warrant Officer Fansu] Nyabally’s residence for only a day and in the evening General [Saul] Badjie said to Nuha Badjie that let us wait till he talk to President [Jammeh].
At night he order[ed] that they be taken to the President at Kanilai. Upon arrival, our senior went to the president to tell him [of] our presence and the order was they be killed and cut into pieces. That particular night, we proceeded them [sic] to a village called Alla Kunda where they are [sic] killed by Malick Manga and Fansu Nyabally and some of us were digging their graves in the president’s garden…”
Speaking to investigators at Yundum Station on 16 March 2017, Jallow said it was later he learnt the names of the two men where Ebou Jobe and Mamut Ceesay.
Another Jungler also in custody, Staff Sgt Amadou Badjie, confirmed Jallow’s story and recounted that about 7pm the day after they picked up the men at the checkpoint, they took them to Kanilai. He said the senior officers entered the president’s palace with the two men and “after a few minutes” came out and they went to the bush. “After completing the digging, they brought the death [sic] bodies and they were buried and we left back home to Kombo,” St Badjie stated.
He further explained: “I heard Nuha Badjie saying that the said people wanted to overthrow the government and they were working on sniper rifle that was supposed to come from Guinea Bissau.”