General Saul Badjie, the commander of the Presidential Guards of ex-President Yahya Jammeh, has returned to the Gambia along with 13 other soldiers, who went into exile with Jammeh in Equatorial Guinea.
Both Jammeh and Badjie were found liable by the Truth Commission for various crimes ranging from unlawful killings, murder, torture, and sexual violence.
Also prominent among the returnees are Lieutenant Colonel Wandifa Barrow, Lieutenant Colonel Amadou Joof, Major Landing Tamba, Lieutenant Kaddy Colley and members of their families.
Confirming the development to the country’s national broadcaster, GRTS, the Gambia armed forces spokesperson Captain Malick Sanyang said the men are in town, and the Gambian authorities have lodged them whilst they go through administrative processes. He said their return was facilitated through diplomatic channels.
Meanwhile, the office of the National Security Advisor late Saturday issued a statement confirming the return of the former Jammeh bodyguards.
” Through the Office of the National Security Advisor, the general public is informed of the return in The Gambia of support staff who travelled to Equatorial Guinea with the former President of The Republic of The Gambia signaling an end to the 2016 Presidential election impasse.”
The following names were listed as the returnees:
1. Lieutenant General Sulayman Badjie
2. Lieutenant Colonel Wandifa Barrow
3. Lieutenant Colonel Amadou Joof
4. Major Landing Tamba
5. Lieutenant Kaddy Colley
6. Warrant Officer Class I Musa Badjie
7. Sergeant Nyassi Lamin
8. Sergeant Jarju Landing
9. Sergeant Jammeh Lamin LB
10. Almameh Kujabi
11. Mariatou Jammeh
12. Awa Jammeh
13. Aramata Camara
14. Two children
“Five years on or thereabout, these returnees voluntarily made their intentions of returning to their motherland known and wished for arrangements to be made to facilitate their return.
“Considering the long duration of absence from their families and loved ones, the Government of The Gambia listened and heard their plea, and promised to look into the best modalities employable to ensure an orderly, as well as a befitting re-unification with their families.
“Subsequently, having ascertained their intention to return voluntarily, the Government through the appropriate diplomatic channels engaged the Government of Equatorial Guinea to facilitate their movement.
“In the Gambia, meanwhile, Office of the National Security Advisor charged a dedicated team of security services to ensure a suitable way of receiving, as well as processing them orderly in order to allow them reunite with their families.
“While the necessary administrative processes have begun, in order to satisfy all security concerns, we once again welcome the returnees back to The Gambia as fellow citizens.
“However, we urge them to continue to be law abiding as demonstrated since their arrival back to The Gambia,” the statement added.
The guards named left The Gambia five years ago together with Jammeh, after he lost to Adama Barrow in the presidential elections in 2016.
Videos circulating online show them jubilating at their abode in the former Spanish colony, after Adama Barrow was declared the winner of the December 4 polls.
It would be recalled that army generals Ansumana Tamba and Umpa Mendy, had earlier returned to the country from Equatorial Guinea.
They went through Banjul airport, but the alarm was raised and they were later arrested at their residence.
Subsequently, they were tried before a general court-martial, but were acquitted and discharged by the court.