12 June 2016

Rwanda: The Mandinka of Gambia Must Be Protected

Photo: Le Pays
President Yahya Jammeh

One would have thought that what happened in Rwanda in 1994 would have served as a lesson to the world.

One would have thought that the ghost of ethnic hatred would not haunt this continent again, but it seems that is not the case.

But what is most worrying is when a Head of State openly makes threatening remarks against a section of his population.

That is none other than the controversial Yahya Jammeh, President of Gambia, who threatened to eliminate the Mandinka ethnic group "one by one" and put them "where even a fly cannot see them".

Words like that coming from a Head of State should indeed be taken seriously, and Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, was quick to sound the alarm.

Dieng knows what he is talking about when it come to matter of ethnic cleansing and incitement to commit Genocide by people in authority and who wield enormous powers of persuasion.

For over ten years he headed the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). He saw first-hand the effects of Genocide and the role of leaders in fanning it.

So when Jammeh calls the Mandinka names such "enemies and foreigners, he is paving the way for impunity and the world should be worried. We saw the devastating effects of Leon Mugesera's inflammatory speech in 1992, now we are seeing a reenactment in Gambia.

Will the world just be contented with mere "condemnations" or will it flex its muscles and take decisive measures?


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