Gambian authorities free nearly 100 prisoners from Jammeh era

Court sentences man, 57, to 10 years jail term for rape
United Bank for Africa

Gambian authorities have released 98 prisoners, mostly from the notorious Mile II prison, an Interior Ministry spokesman said, as the country seeks to turn a page on the authoritarian era of ousted former president Yahya Jammeh.

The release follows the freeing of about 170 prisoners two weeks ago.

Gambian President Adama Barrow in February replaced the head of the military, a pillar of his predecessor Jammeh’s government, and dismissed several senior military officers.

The former head of prisons was arrested.

Barrow won an election in December, but Jammeh refused to accept the result.

Jammeh eventually fled into exile in Equatorial Guinea in January, after coming under pressure from regional leaders who sent troops to Gambia to force him to leave.

Rights groups say Jammeh’s opponents were tortured, and some died, in detention centres including the Mile II Central Prison in Banjul.

Interior Ministry spokesman Lamin Baba Njie said by telephone that 79 people had been released from Mile II, and a further 19 from other prisons.

“The releases are part of the prisons reform agenda,” he said.