SIXTEEN YEARS HAS GONE WHEN 14 INNOCENT STUDENTS PLUS A RED CROSS VOLUNTEER AND A THREE YEAR OLD CHILD WERE BRUTALLY MASSACRED IN COLD BLOOD BY THE POLICE INTERVENTION UNIT OF THE GAMBIA, AND YET STILL NO JUSTICE HAS TAKEN PLACE!!!
By Lamin Saddam Sanyang, The Netherlands
April on the 10th and 11th 2000 were among the darkest days of our nation’s history. April 10th was the day when unarmed students under the leadership of the Gambia Students Union (GAMSU) decided to stage a peaceful demonstration against a host of grievances, including the alleged beating to death of their colleague Ebrima Barry by Fire Service officers in Brikama. They were also demonstrating the alleged rape of a thirteen year old student girl by security forces on duty at the Independence Stadium in Bakau where inter-schools sports competition took place.
Before his death, Ebrima Barry was escorted to the Brikama Fire Service where his head was shaved, beaten and forced to carry heavy bags of cement. He was also alleged to have been stripped naked while cement power was poured all over his body. Barry was also forced to swallow cement before being allowed to go home. He died a day after he his mistreatment.
Gambian authorities failure to arrest, investigate and prosecute those responsible for the heinous crimes had forced students to take to the streets on April 10th and 11th. Unfortunately, the peaceful demonstration was violently suppressed by armed Gambian security who shot and killed 14 students and a Red Cross volunteer, Omar Barrow, to death. Among those brutally killed by Jammeh’s henchmen was a three-year old child. Scores of students were maimed for life. Some are still nursing their unhealed wounds. The students did not back down upon viewing the violent response of government to the protest of their colleagues in the greater Banjul area, several rural towns also launched their protests on the following day April the 11th 2000, they were violently harassed and several hundreds of students were detained country wide. The only crime these innocent young students committed – if they committed one – was peacefully demonstrating their civil, democratic and constitutional rights. These unarmed and powerless future leaders were murdered in cold-blood and their families still denied justice.
On the day of the demonstration, President Jammeh who was out of country at the time, was briefed by the Vice President Isatou Njie Saidy about the tense situation. The saddest part of the story was the exact words that came out of the stinking mouth of President Jammeh: GO AND KILL THOSE BASTARDS!!! Despite giving the order to shoot and kill, the coward President never admitted his role. Who gave the order officially remains unanswered. Not even the Coroner and the Inquiry Commission into the massacre were able to convince security officers to tell the truth.
Ironically, the same President has been going around the world spreading lies that he cares about Gambian life. How can a leader who allowed his country’s future leaders to be killed by ants claims to have cared about his people? The Idiot President is nothing but a pathological liar who represents nothing but selfishness. He betrays the oath of allegiance.
According to the constitution of the Second Republic of The Gambia, those students did not commit any crime. Because our constitution says:
- FREEDOM OF SPEECH, CONSCIENCE, ASSEMBLY, ASSOCIATION AND MOVEMENT.
(1) Every person shall have the right to –
(a) freedom of speech and expression, which include freedom of the press and other media.
(b) freedom of thought, conscience and belief, which shall include academic freedom.
(c) freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice.
(d) freedom to assemble and demonstrate peaceably and without arms.
- Mr. President, you and your bunch of criminal, have you ever read this section the constitution is talking about?
Where are the rights of these fourteen students, a red cross volunteer and a three year old child who were brutally murdered in daylight without any hesitation?
Mr. President, are you going to give the same order to massacre them if your daughter Mariama Jammeh and your son Muhammed Lamin Jammeh are among the demonstrators?
– Mrs/Miss Vice President, the statement you gave after those students were massacred, are those words your own words?
– If those words are yours, will you still use the same words when those victims are your own children?
– Does that statement match with the constitution?
May the souls of the victims of the April 10 and 11 rest in perfect peace. As we celebrate the 16th anniversary of the student massacre, I pray for the souls of those who died after the bloody carnage. Ameen!