By Suntou Touray
Confirmed Reports Indicate that at least five Gambian couples killed each other in the West in recent times. Three cases were reported in the United Kingdom, one in Sweden and one in the United States. The figure could be higher if depression and heart attack related deaths are counted. The common trend is simple family conflict remaining unresolved, argument over money, unmitigated provocations, children welfare, household chore and pressures from extended family back home. The Gambian diaspora needs to talk about family life issues.
The conflict of interest in marital homes among Gambians in West has reached fatal proportions. The expectations of husbands on wife’s and the cultural and legal framework in west creates conflicts in African marital institutions. Due to the nature of the self-contain existence, the safety net of seeking advise from elders and experience couples, there is no framework for redress in situations where husbands and wives reach irreconcilable differences. Travelling abroad for greener pastures completely shift the way the traditional Gambian family lives. This change of culture and way of life sometimes impact tragically leading to violence and loss of life. No one can blame either side on who is to blame, however, Gambian couples are advised to seek neutral mediators in events of conflict in their marital homes. Seeking the counsel of an Imam, Priest, close friend, family back home can sometimes break the deadlock.
This case in question is a Gambian tragedy and the trend is not healthy reading since, our sources indicate, this is the 5th occasion Gambian couples killed each other. We pray that, this case be the last in which our Gambian brother and sister take each other’s life.
“Mariama Njie-Jallow, believed to 37 years old, was killed at her home in Admiralty Road on Sunday. She died from a stab wound to the neck.
Her partner Mbye Jallow, 56, then took his own life by setting fire to an upstairs bedroom. A Home Office post mortem has confirmed that he died from smoke inhalation.
Detective Inspector Kevin Hayward, from the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, said: “We would still like to hear from anyone with information regarding the couples’ deaths and ask them to contact the Major Investigation Team directly on 101.”
Earlier this week, police described the deaths as an “isolated domestic incident”.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Guy said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths but were talking to Mrs Njie-Jallow’s family to build up a picture of her life and “what was going on at the time” before passing a report to the coroner.
He also urged anyone who suspects domestic violence to get in touch with police.
“If you are friends or neighbours with people and you suspect domestic violence is occurring, we would ask you to call police and make us aware,” said DCI Guy.
“Often there are things in people’s lives that neighbours and friends don’t always know, which is what we’re looking at,” he added.
It is believed Mrs Njie-Jallow and Mr Jallow were originally from the Gambia. They had been living in the country for several years. Neighbours, who described them as “always friendly, very pleasant and very respectable” have been left shocked by their deaths.”