19 May 2018

Gambia: The Case of 44 Ghanaians Killed in the Gambia Kept Alive

A French-German human rights lawyer says they have strong evidence of the killings of 44 Ghanaians in The Gambia in 2005 which included the involvement of a most senior security personnel. She made this while narrating the case of the victims and advocating for prosecution.

She complained of lack of cooperation on the Ghanaian case. According to her most of the officers were probably been told not to mention anything about the case. She urged Ghanaian authorities to reopen investigation into the execution of Ghanaian migrants.

"The West African migrants who arrived during the anniversary of Jammeh's Coup on 22nd July 2005, were arrested at a beach and taken to Barra then handed over to Naval Headquarters. At that period, all the security chiefs were present while detainees are held at Naval Headquarters. The migrants were later taken to different areas for execution but one managed to escape," she said.

In another development, a victim of Jammeh at the occasion, Isatou alias 'Ayesha' Jammeh who works at the victim's center, narrated her trip in Ghana. She said they were able to meet with families of victims, adding that the Ghanaian President has shown interest in the case about the murdered Ghanaians.

"We told the Ghanaian President that we have new evidence and he promised that his government will get back to us. Having Ghana to prosecute Jammeh will be a great step forward for Gambia because right now the Gambian justice system is not that strong to get Jammeh to justice but when Ghana does it, it would be a step for Gambian victims to also have evidence against Jammeh to bring him back to Gambia to be tried for his 22-years of abuses," she said.

She described President's Barrow government as slow; that it is not talking or communicating to the victims. "We've put up a victim-bill board because we believe that the government is still very slow and we felt been isolated because they are not communicating to us," she concluded

A widow of Lamin Tunkara, Adama Conta, who wept while explaining the abduction and disappearance of husband, said she was seven months pregnant and since then she does not know his whereabouts. "He was first detained at the Police headquarters for about 3 to 4 days then he was transferred to Kairaba station where he finally disappeared. He went missing at Kairaba," she said. As tears continued to roll down her cheeks she could not continue the explanation of her husband's ordeal.

Madi Jobarteh of TANGO in his remarks said, "We have a responsibility to heal the soul of our nation. Every Gambian irrespective of our profession has a responsibility to cleanse the dreadful reputation, name and soul of The Gambia," he said.

According to him the National Assembly has a fundamental role to play in this campaign to see to it that the Gambian government provides all forms cooperation in assisting the Ghana government.

He calls on the government to support the Ghanaian authorities for ex-leader Jammeh to be booked in a court of justice.

Marion Volkmann-Brandau has worked on a series of high profile cases on crimes against humanity which includes the 2016 trial of Chad ex-dictator.

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