Activists Scale Up #Jammeh2Justice Campaign

By Abdoulie John

Barely a year after the campaign to bring Yahya Jammeh and his accomplices to justice (#Jammeh2Justice) kicked off, activists are scaling up their action on the new authorities to fully support the initiative taken by Ghana to extradite and prosecute ex-Gambian dictator in their country.

Far from softening up, campaigners are pushing ahead with demands for action to be taken against former President Yahya Jammeh who is enjoying a golden life while in exile in Equatorial Guinea.

“The purpose of #Jammeh2Justice Coalition is to lay the groundwork to bring to justice Yahya Jammeh and his accomplices” Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch told reporters on Saturday during a press conference held at TANGO hall in Kanifing, some 7 km away from Banjul.

The tiny West African nation is emerging from the shadows of 22 years of dictatorship by the Jammeh regime. Two decades that were marked by arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and summary executions. The new authorities have vowed to right the wrongs of the past in announcing a series of constitutional and institutional reforms. A truth and reparations commission has been launched recently and expectations are high that it would address the concerns of the victims of human rights violations in Gambia.

Brody said they discussed with Gambian authorities about what they called the “Ghana option” as 56 migrants were massacred in 2005 by Jammeh’s kill team.

Among them, he added, 44 people from Ghana while others were from Senegal, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and one Gambian known as Lamin Tounkara.

He cited Martin Kyere, a survivor of that massacre and described him “hero”.

Giving an account of the events that led to the gruesome murder of West African migrants, Martin could not contain his emotions when he was narrating their ordeal.

His poignant testimony, which was flooded with tears, showed the barbaric side of the Junglers as they used sticks, machetes and axes to kill some migrants.

On their way to Kanilai, he said he managed to escape the horror that was taking place in the vehicle by jumping off the pick-up, and ran into the forest while they were shooting in his direction.

Martin Kyere called for justice to prevail in this matter that will continue to haunt Gambia’s political history.

The Head of Investigations and Criminal Law Program, Benedict De Moerloose, unveiled how the former tried to cover up the migrants massacre in destroying evidences. He cited the destruction of log book containing details about the migrants that were arrested.

Talking about the ‘Inquiry Panel’ that blamed “some rogue elements” for committing the gruesome murder, Benedict said it was a State crime, debunking the findings of the report.

He revealed that Trial International spearheaded an investigation. He then added they were able to share their findings with Ghanaian President who was Foreign Affairs minster at the time of the massacre.

“Ghana is a very unique opportunity to give justice to the victims,” he voiced out.

Madi Jobarteh, a prominent Gambian activist, reechoed the calls for justice, emanating from the victims.

“The evidence is overwhelming. We cannot sit in the Gambia whilst those outside the country have the willingness to seek justice,” he said.

Jobarteh made it clear that civil society organisations cannot continue to remain silent, indifferent over the ongoing #Jammeh2Justice campaign.

“Let us get up and support the initiatives that are from the ground,” he reiterated. “The incidence of human rights violations can continue as long as there is no accountability.”

As more victims are breaking their silence, exposing the heinous crimes committed under the watch of one of the tyrannical regimes in Africa, hopes are high that victims will ultimately see light at the end of the tunnel…


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