Gambia: Chief of Protocol Blames Jammeh for April 10 Massacre

A former chief of Protocol at State House Monday said ex-president Yahya Jammeh was responsible for the killing of demonstrators during the students' uprising in April 2000.

Demba Njie told the Truth Commission that few months after the April 10/11 students' demonstration, the late Baba Jobe bursted into the State House and told ex-president Jammeh that students from the Gambia College were planning to stage a demonstration.

Njie said Baba Jobe added: "This time, to block the high way (and then), the situation is getting serious."

He said ex-president Jammeh asked Baba Jobe whether the students want him to do what he did to the April 10/11 students' demonstrators and Mr. Jobe responded in the negative.

Mr. Njie said ex-president Jammeh was responsible for the killing of the demonstrators taking into account the words he uttered to Baba Jobe.

He said ex-president Jammeh had requested him to go and talk to the students. He said the college students were GAMSU. He added the said demonstration never happened.

He further said while he was in Havana, Cuba, with former president Yahya Jammeh at the Non-Alliance Movement conference, he received information that there was a students' strike in the country.

He said he heard the information a day after the demonstration when ex-president Jammeh asked him to arrange a flight that would land them in Banjul within 3am, at night.

Njie said they had to shorten their trip due to the unrest in the country.

He said they arrived at Banjul airport unannounced and their convoy did not produce any siren.

He said after a day or two in the country, he discovered some telephone booths, a police station and other installations were damaged during the demonstration.

Asked whether he knew of any announcement made by the presidency, Mr. Njie said the vice president then Dr. Isatou Njie Saidy made an announcement saying that some of the students may have been responsible for the killing of some students.

In his concluding remarks to the Commission, Njie urged students to focus on education and desist from political activities, saying politicians seldom consider what is good for public.

He also urged security agents to serve the public and desist from satisfying the whims and caprices of one individual.

He said security officers lived like hostages in the 22-year-rule of ex-president Yahya Jammeh. He also appealed to the TRRC to ensure that justice prevails at the end of their mandate.

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