Former interior minister Mai on his official Facebook page wrote that the late Haruna Jatta did not lose his life under his watch, saying Jatta died allegedly during and as a result of confrontation between protesters in Foni against ECOMIG forces.
“ECOMIG was not under my command as Interior Minister. I had no control or jurisdiction over ECOMIG and they were not answerable to me or my Ministry. The sad event occurred while I was in Monrovia, participating at ECOWAS regional security meeting. I cut short my visit, returned home to expeditiously tackle the ensuing internal security complexities created by the protest,” he stated.
He further indicated that his Ministry at the time intervened to comprehensively restore law and order in Foni after the tragic event had already occurred. He said assets under his Ministry were not involved during the fatal scuffle against the military in Foni.
The Wuli politician added that ECOMIG soldiers who allegedly shot the late Haruna Jatta were under the direct coordination and supervision of the Ministry of Defence at Office of the President, and NOT the Ministry of Interior.
“I am willing to take responsibility for the Ministry of Interior, which excluded ECOMIG forces in Foni and elsewhere. Every State Minister must own up to his/her responsibilities. I will not assume liabilities for another Minister or Ministry and I will not accept blames for things outside my authority and duty. This does not vitiate the principle of collective responsibility in Cabinet. Therefore, it is utter falsehood, to continue to allege that the late Haruna Jatta was “killed” under my watch.”
He confirmed that no nation is viable without respect for the law, whilst adding that his pronouncements and actions on the unfortunate incident at the time were based on intelligence reports, detailed security briefings and expert advice availed to him as Minister, from relevant agencies, which is normal in all democracies.
“That I asserted and enforced obedience to the law or be consumed by the law, is a cardinal principle of democracy. I have no regrets about this in particular and will not change my beliefs about the sanctity of law and respect for the rule of law. Lastly, I am very proud of the Gambia Police Force (GPF). Based on my work experience, the GPF could potentially be one of the best in the Region, if their basic professional requirements are enhanced.”