A large contingent of police crime and forensic experts, and other security officials yesterday combed forests in the Fonis to formally start the search for secret graves of victims of the former regime.
The search party set out Thursday morning in a convoy accompanied by suspected Jungulars who claimed to have knowledge of the bushes where victims were buried. Officials were first brought to the Santanba Forest near Bajonkoto Village in the west of Bwiam. There, a suspected Jungular (name withheld), narrated how he was called in at night by his superiors to take part in the burial of two people at a spot in the forest.
Investigators believed these are the bodies of Lance Corporal Tumani Jallow and Abdou Gaye, a businessman. The duo had been confirmed to have been killed by the former regime.
“It was at night that I was called and when I turned up, we came here to bury two people. If I didn’t forget, it is this spot here. But it was at night,” said the suspect, pointing to a spot on the ground.
Forensic experts immediately set to work carefully digging and piling soil on a blue tarpaulin beside the trench.
As work progressed, a second suspected Jungular arrived under heavy escort and immediately suggested that the grave in question could not have been that near the road. ”It was well into the bush,” he told investigators who then abandoned work on the first trench to venture further into the bush. They returned with police public relations officer Foday Conta, disclosing that the day’s exercise was the beginning of a search that will not stop until justice is served for the families of the victims.
“As you can see we are led here by the suspects themselves who took part in the burials and we shall continue to work with them to search for these secret graves,” he told a small press corps at the site.