Yahya Jammeh faces arrest if he returns to Gambia - minister

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By BBC Africa

 

Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh will be arrested if he attempts to return to the country, a minister has told the BBC.

Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou said he would like to prosecute Mr Jammeh himself over his "brutal" rule.

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 neighbours sent troops to force him out.

The justice minister's comments come days after Mr Jammeh's supporters held a large protest demanding their former leader's safe return to the country.

Mr Jammeh ruled The Gambia for 22 years and has been accused of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary detention.

The Gambian government, lead 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 actually 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.

 

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