According to a minister, former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh will face arrest if he attempts to return from exile. The senior government official made the revelation while speaking to the BBC.
There have been reports in recent times that the former longtime leader was gathering support from top members of his political party to return from exile in Equatorial Guinea.
However, it appears the former leader will need a rethink after the revelations by the Gambian minister.
“Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou said he would like to prosecute Mr Jammeh himself over his brutal rule”, the minister had said.
Mr Jammeh has expressed his desire to return home, and his supporters say arresting him will lead to “bloodshed”.
The former leader has been in exile in Equatorial Guinea since being removed from power in 2017.
He refused to accept defeat in December 2016 elections, and The Gambia’s neighbors sent troops to force him out.
The justice minister’s comments come days after Mr Jammeh’s supporters held a massive protest demanding their former leader’s safe return to the country.
Mr. Jammeh ruled The Gambia for 22 years and accused of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and arbitrary detention.
The Gambian government, led by President Adama Barrow, has set up a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) to investigate the alleged rights violations and come up with recommendations.
Mr Jammeh has refused to co-operate with the commission.
The justice minister accused Mr Jammeh’s supporters of “political brinkmanship” because they knew he would not go home.
“They [Mr. Jammeh and his supporters] are sure as daylight that he is not coming back, although if he ever does come back, he will face immediate arrest and the most serious charges,” Mr. Tambadou told the BBC.
He also accused the former president of being a “megalomaniac” and destroying “every fabric of Gambian society”.
“It will take us a generation or two to rebuild our country,” he said.
Ousman Rambo Jatta, the interim leader of Mr Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party, recently told the BBC’s Focus on Africa that Mr Jammeh should be allowed to return and without facing prosecution.
Mr Jatta said that the former president had the right to go back home.
After losing the 2016 election to Mr. Barrow, Mr Jammeh signed an agreement brokered by the UN, regional body Ecowas and the African Union in 2017, in which he agreed to give up power and go into exile. Still, he could return to The Gambia at any time he wished.
However, the Gambian government does not recognize this agreement.
Mr Jatta said that arresting Mr Jammeh would lead to “bloodshed”.
“Nobody will dare to arrest him,” he added.