Jammeh’s dollars for Deyda’s life: Ex-jungler bares how he and three others were given dollars after they killed journalist Deyda Hydara

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By Lamin Njie

A former member of former president Yahya Jammeh’s elite killing crew has detailed how he and three others were given dollars after a killing mission that involved a journalist.

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On December 16, 2004, Gambians woke up to the horrifying news of the brutal assassination of a journalist. That journalist turned out to be Deyda Hydara, the former editor of The Point newspaper – and since his death, a lot of questions have been raised including who really killed him.

On Monday, a former jungler who took orders from former president Yahya Jammeh offered the most dependable answer so far by telling the TRRC it was the former president who ordered for his killing.

“We were summoned for a normal patrol and on the road Tumbul told us we were going for the magic pen,” Malick Jatta who said he was part of a team of four people who shot and killed the journalist in an operation that was carried out at night told the TRRC during a chilling tell-all.

“[It was] myself, Sana Manjang, Tumbul [Tamba] and [Alieu] Jeng. Tumbul Tamba was driving the taxi. We drove on the Kairaba Avenue to the Traffic Light.

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“When he [Tumbul Tamba] parked at Traffic Light, it was where (sic) he was talking to the former president and why I know he was talking to the former president was due to the fact that he was mentioning, ‘yes sir, your excellency.’”

Jatta and his fellow junglers later left Traffic Light for Bakau only for them to return to Traffic Light again and then drove to Westfield. From Westfield, the killers drove towards Banjul only for them to take a turn to the right, about 800 meters from Westfield.

Jatta, now 43, said: “There was a vehicle in front of us. Initially we did not know he (Tumbul Tamba) was running after a vehicle (sic).

“When he was opposite the vehicle, as he was trying to [go] past the vehicle, he shouted, ‘gentlemen, the driver is the idiot.’ He (Tumbul Tamba) was shouting, ‘shoot, shoot.’ We all released shots.”

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The killers later drove back to where they picked the taxi, boarded their official vehicles and then drove to Kanilai. The following day, envelopes loaded with dollars got doled out.

Jatta said: “We went to Kanilai. The following day, Tumbul came to see us. He met me at the school.

“He came with an envelope containing some dollars and he said to us, ‘this is a token of appreciation the big man – big man applies the president.’

“When I changed it, it was a long time I cannot remember but I believe I scored more than D50,000.”

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