WBy Bekai Njie
It’s been 15 years before the question about: “Who Killed Deyda Hydara?” which has been displaying on The Point’s front page banner since 2004 finally get answered.
Vivid details to the circumstances of the killing of The Point’s ex-managing editor and co-proprietor, Deyda Hydara, emerged that he was shot and killed on the orders of ex-President Yahya Jammeh.
Mr. Hydara’s productive life was cut short by assassin’s bullet some 16 years ago when the newspaper he co-founded with childhood friend, Mr. Pap Saine, was celebrating its 13th anniversary.
“One day, Tumbul Tamba told our patrol team that we (were) going for ‘the magic pen’ (code name given to Deyda Hydara as target for the operation),” Lt. Malick Jatta of The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) and a member of former President Yayha Jammeh’s hit-squad known as ‘junglers’ yesterday testified before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) disclosed.
“We left Kanilai with Tamba’s car till Kanifing and took a taxi from the former President Yahya Jammeh’s garage,” he confessed that he took the shot that killed Deyda Hydara 16 years ago. His team members on this fateful night included Sana Manjang, Alieu Jeng and Tumbul Tamba.
After they changed cars at Jammeh’s garage in Kanifing, the unit drove to “Traffic-Light” on Kairaba Avenue where Tamba was speaking to Jammeh on phone.
“I saw soldiers in taxi and I was able to recognise Kawsu Camara alias Bombardier and Manlafi Corr.”
He said Manlafi and Bombardier later took the Kanifing Road and then proceeded around the Stadium in Bakau before heading to the Police Intervention Unit’s (PIU) garage.
“We met a car and Tamba, who was driving, said ‘this is the idiot’ and he ordered us to shoot,” Lt. Jatta explained.
“I shot at him… My colleagues Alieu Jeng and Sana Manjang also fired,” he said at the TRRC, noting that they were all quiet throughout their journey back to Kanilai without a single stop.
The witness added that he only came to know in the following day that the person shot was actually Deyda Hydara, the co-founder of The Point Newspaper.
Jatta said after the operation, they were compensated in Dollars, worth more than D50, 000 from the former President Yahya Jammeh through Tamba, who was head of the operation.
Killing other Gambians
He, however, admitted to killing his fallow Gambians unlawfully.
Malick Jatta also revealed that Manjang killed Ndongo Mboob around Bundung Borehole Garden, adding that they were in the vehicle when he was picked up from another vehicle.
He also admitted to have shot, along with Tumbul Tamba, Sana Manjang and Alieu Jeng, one Dawda Nyassi.