It’s exactly 21 years today when more than a dozen soldiers accused of a coup plot were summarily executed by The Gambia’s military junta. The ‘military with a difference’ sadly lacked the balls to tell Gambians the list of coup suspects. Only the alleged leader Lt. Basiru Barrow was named. What has become our country’s first government-anointed massacre story remains shrouded in mystery. And to make matters worse, the families of massacred soldiers are not talking about the 11/11 event.
We would have known the true story had executed soldiers emerged from their graves. That has never happened anywhere. The onus now is on those who knew the story in toto to tell us exactly what happened on that fateful night at Fajara Barracks and Brikama range. We as a society has a real problem when we cannot tell our own story, especially the one that disvirgins our nation. It is an irony that most of the 11/11 storytellers were traumatized and ultimately had their memories faded. We give kudos to the few soldiers for publicly sharing thier side of the cold-blooded event.
Of course, not all the families remain tight-lipped. The father of the late Lt. Gibril Saye remains a hero for challenging the lies of the ruling junta. We stll have memories of how Pa Amadou Saye confronted the junta over its cooked up story. The dynamic would have changed had the families Lt. Basiru Barrow, Lt. Abdoulie Dot Faal, Lt. Bakary Manneh and others done the same. In that case, the anger-laden Gambian people would be in solidarity with the families who had their loved ones executed and denied the right to a fitting burial.
The families may be crying in silence, which is understandable but that should not stop them from sharing the memories of their loved ones with the public? This can be done by taking a minute’s silence, organized prayer sessions or write articles promoting their vision. A simple poem on how they are loved and missed will immortalise them. All these create new holes of disturbance and guilt in the hearts of their killers.
Remaining silent is not a winner here since it smoothens the hearts of the cowards loaded with fears of being busted. Clearly, all those who play a part in these heartless and unjustifiable executions will forever be hunted by the nemesis they create. All the heartless people who either fired shots, directed, macheted or bury our soldiers alive will reap what they sow. The spirits of the innocent souls keep boggling their mind anytime they go to bed.
Most people expected President Jammeh to seek forgiveness from Gambians, especially for the 11/11 and April 10 &11 masdacres. He eluded the chance in July when he pardoned over 200 prisoners. But we were not surprised he didn’t because his ego wouldn’t allow him. How can the wounded families forgive and forget when they are denied justice, compensation and the government refuse to seek forgiveness? The chapter remains opened until the right thing is done: investigate the executions, prosecute those responsible and compensate victims’ families.
We at Kairo News and Radio join the families of 11/11 to remember the victims on a day that has left a permanent scar on our country’s image. We pray for the souls of the fallen soldiers to enjoy Eternal Bliss.
The late Lieutenant Lt. Basiru Barrow, Lt. Gibril Seye, Lt. Buba Jammeh, Lt/ Abdoulie Faal (Dot), Lt. Momodou Lamin Darboe, 2nd Lt. Bakary Manneh (Nyancho), Officer-Cadet Amadou Sillah, Sgt-Major Fafa Nyang, Corporal Basiru Camara and countless other soldiers were gone but their memories would remain.