Gambia: 'Barrow Embolden Jammeh's Enablers'

12 April 2021

The president of the Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights, Sheriff Kijera, has accused President Adama Barrow of enabling and gratifying former President Yahya Jammeh's enablers after Defence Minister Sheikh Omar Faye's comments.

In a press conference held at the victims' center in Kololi, the center's leader said the Gambian leader has emboldened such people who assisted Jammeh in his human rights violations, citing the Defense Minister as an example.

"Adama Barrow had emboldened and gratified Yaya Jammeh's enablers and perpetrators of the most gruesome crimes in the history of our great nation," Sheriff Kijera said.

"Sheik Omar Faye is the perfect example of a Yaya Jammeh enabler in a political position."

Recall: The Defense Minister Sheikh Omar Faye made comments recently which riled the victims.

He was quoted as saying "let us suck it up, let us understand that we made mistakes, let us stop crying over spilled milk, let us look for a way out, let us move on," in relation to victims of human rights violations.

These comments have angered the victims of the Jammeh regime who are calling for the sack or the resignation of the minister.

Sheriff also accused Minister Faye of disrespecting victims and their plight.

He said: "He disrespected and insulted victims who suffered torture, rape, castration, enforced disappearances, extra judicial killings and wrongfully arrested and detained under gruesome conditions."

"He told them to suck it up and stop crying over spilled milk," he emphasised.

Kijera and his fellow victims say Barrow is encouraging Jammeh's enablers by having someone who made such remarks in a political position as a minister.

According to him, it's only an enabler who will suggest that Gambians were responsible for what the Jammeh regime had done.

Sheriff acknowledged that the Chief of Defense Staff of the Gambia Army Lt. General Yankuba Drammeh apologised on behalf of the perpetrators in the army for the harm done to the victims. He said the army chief paid the victim center a courtesy call and showed remorse for the plight of the victims. He described him as a man of honour and integrity.

Kijera also expressed his thoughts on the TRRC, saying the commission had done an excellent job so far, adding that they had established some facts about the 22years of Jammeh's alleged human rights violations.

"For clarity, the Victims Centre want to make it categorically clear that it has never worked with the Ministry of Defense on matters related to the welfare of victims of the past regime," he noted.

On behalf of the Victims Centre, Kijera urged the government to have the political will to fully implement the recommendations of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC), after its completion which they believe will lead to the timely prosecution of Yaya Jammeh and his enablers.

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