Gambia: One Year On, Circumstances Surrounding Ousman Darboe's Death Still Unknown

Binta Jaiteh, the widow of the late Ousman Darboe, a Sierra Leonean national who died last year has claimed that their family is yet to receive any investigation or post-mortem reports suggesting the cause of her late husband's death.

Darboe died last year with reports claiming that personnel of the Police Anti-Crime Unit (ACU) had a hand; however, ACU denied any wrongdoing.

"The family is still mourning the death of my husband. The most painful thing is the fact that there has never been a result from the government indicating the cause of my husband's death. The government has claimed to conduct a post-mortem but the family didn't receive any results from them," she said yesterday during the one year anniversary of her late husband's demise.

It could be recalled that last year, hundreds of young people thronged the streets of the country's busiest market (Serrekunda market) to protest over the death of Mr. Darboe and thus called for justice.

Yesterday family members and friends gathered at Dippa Kunda to recite the Holy Quran for the late Ousman Darboe.

"To me, the government didn't care anything with regard to my husband's death. It is like you just killed someone's dog and nothing will come out of it. However, even if you kill a dog belonging to someone you should go and tell the owner that I am the one that killed your dog; talk less of a human being."

The government, she went on, just did what they wanted, suggesting that Ousman Darboe was not a Gambian and he had no other person that would fight for him.

"We have seen people like Madi Jobarteh and others trying to follow the case and they got questioned by the police. My husband's death has definitely affected me so much, including my children. We are currently renting and the little thing that I got from my small businesses is what the family depends on," she said, adding that the covid-19 pandemic has affected her business as it is not going normal.

"Currently, paying my house rent and taking care of my children are very hard on me. It's been four months now and I haven't paid my house rent. As I am speaking to you, I am even planning to vacate the apartment."

For his part, Alhagie Bayo, a family member to the late Ousman Darboe said: "We as family are not happy because we have seen how outrageous things have been meted upon our brother. This is something that we as a family are not happy about and we are surprised that the government couldn't do such. We believe that the government's position is to make sure that people's welfare is taken care of including their security."

The late Ousman Darboe, he claimed, died in his hands. "He called me at night and asked me to pick him up at the gate of ACU at Bijilo because he was not feeling well. I rushed with a car and picked him up but before I reached the Medicare Clinic he passed away."

He alleged that Ousman was tortured by personnel of the ACU. In fact, I personally saw Gorgi Mboob, the head of ACU beating some people in their cells. That's what my own eye saw. However, he said, Ousman was not in that cell at the time.

"A doctor was identified to conduct the post-mortem, who is not even a Gambian and I don't even know what the result is about. However,I heard from the Police PRO that Darboe's death was not as a result of torture but asthma which we the family know was not true."

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