By Mustapha K Darboe
BANJUL, Gambia (AA) - Victims of alleged human rights violations by Gambia's former president called Monday for a ban on his Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction Party (APRC).
The press conference held by the Victims Center rights group on Monday, came barely a week after Yahya Jammeh's party held a protest calling for his safe return. Defeated by Adama Barrow in December 2016, Jammeh lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea.
The APRC leadership said Jammeh had come to an understanding with regional leaders and the UN for him to return to the country at any time of his choosing and have his assets protected.
Barely a month ago, an audio conversation between Jammeh and the deputy leader of the party, Ousman Jatta, was leaked, with Jammeh asking his supporters to protest for his return.
"The agreement must be implemented," he told Jatta, referring to the purported truce.
In response to the APRC, Gambia's Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said on Sunday in the country's capital Banjul that if Jammeh returned to the small West African country, he would be arrested and prosecuted.
Alleged human rights violations under Jammeh have been under investigation for two years by a truth commission.
Tambadou said that based on the findings of the commission, it could no longer be ruled out that Jammeh did not commit crimes against humanity.
"If former President Yahya Jammeh ever comes back to this country, he will face immediate arrest and charges of the most serious kind, and no amount of irresponsible idle talk or political brinksmanship will prevent this from happening. He will be subjected to an accountability process like any ordinary accused person in this country," said Tambadou.
"We are strongly recommending that the Government imposes a ban or suspend the APRC party, until such time that the on-going TRRC is concluded and its recommendations implemented to enhance a smooth transitional justice process for us to reconcile and unite as a people and as a nation," said the Victims Center said in a statement on Monday, welcoming Tambadou's remarks.
The center plans to organize a march in Banjul against Jammeh's party on Jan. 25.