Gambia: Calls for Justice Heighten As Martyr Solo Sandeng Remembered

15 April 2021

Civil Society Organisations including the Solo Sandeng Foundation have called on the Adama Barrow government to demonstrate political will and implement all the recommendations the TRRC is expected to make as they remember martyr Solo Sandeng.

In a virtual meeting organised by the Solo Sandeng Foundation in memory of the late national hero Solo on Wednesday, calls were heightened for justice to be served.

Fatimah Sandeng, the founder and president of Solo Sandeng Foundation and a daughter to the late Solo, said the victims are relying heavily on the TRRC recommendations for justice and therefore, emphasised the need for the government to implement them.

"Victims have hopes on the TRRC process and would give their all to see its recommendations implemented," Fatimah said. "In order for our nation to reconcile and in order for victims to smoothly go through the process of healing, justice needs to prevail and that requires the government to take the recommendations seriously and implement them completely."

Gaye Sowe, a reputable human rights lawyer said the government should start thinking of how to implement recommendations when they are made. Key among them, he said, should be the thoughts of capacity building for the judiciary, the sort of trial courts to prosecute those who committed the most serious crimes, the funds to carry out the recommendations etc.

Fatou Jagne Senghore of Article 19, questioned the political will having seen actions by the government that are not encouraging.

She said the government should not have allowed the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) building to be refurbished, saying it could serve as important evidence to the ongoing fact finding mission about the past regime.

She said allowing self-confessed perpetrators to be holding high public offices does not demonstrate political will. She therefore calls for the government to start acting now.

Other speakers include Ya Kumba Jaiteh, Human rights activist Madi Jobarteh and a host of others who echoed the need for the Barrow government to implement TRRC recommendations when they are made.

Solo Sandeng was arrested with a host of United Democratic Party (UDP) executive members on 14 April, 2016, during a protest demanding better electoral laws.

He was never seen after his arrest and self-confessed perpetrators told TRRC that Solo was killed while in custody.

He will be remembered as a martyr after triggering a change that led to the ousting of former President Yahya Jammeh.

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