Ousman Sonko, a former top member of the repressive Gambian regime of ousted President Yahya Jammeh has requested refugee protection in Switzerland, Bern’s Police Chief confirmed on Wednesday.
Former Interior Minister Sonko has been staying in an asylum centre in Bern since November, police chief Hans-Juerg Kaeser said.
Sonko was a key figure of Jammeh’s repressive rule, and he ordered the detention and torture of government critics, Gambian opposition politician Alhasana Jobarteh and human rights lawyer Yankuba Darboe told Swiss public broadcaster SRF.
Sonko apparently fell out with Jammeh before the president was voted out of office in early December. The man known as enforcer-in-chief of Jammeh’s repressive policies, was sacked in September. He first of all sought refuge in Sweden and later moved to Switzerland.
Jammeh, who ruled the small West African nation for 22 years with an iron fist, had refused to step down.
He finally left for Equatorial Guinea on Saturday, after weeks of pressure from regional leaders.