The pains, trauma, psychological, physical and mental abuses of Jammeh’s victims are too deep that some cases cannot wait for the much-touted Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) to sit let alone submit recommendations for reparation or compensation. Some of these victims need urgent medical and psychological help and cannot therefore wait for any future promise. Their situation is so dire, which leaves them completely vulnerable. It is in this regard that I urge our Honourable Members of Parliament to discuss the possibility of the government creating an ‘Emergency Victim Relief Fund’ for victims of April 14 and those in similar conditions.
Led by the late Ebrima Solo Sandeng, more than a dozen political activists of the United Democratic Party took to the streets calling for commonsense electoral reforms only to be arrested, detained and brutally tortured by agents of the ousted Jammeh regime. Some of these tortured victims have either died in state custody or at home. The list of the dead victims continues to loom. The surviving April 14 victims have had enough and unless something serious is done to address their plight anything can happen to them. On a daily basis, these victims battle trauma and unhealed medical problems. Yahya Jammeh and his monster torturers cannot be forgiven for their heinous crimes. Before we deal with criminal monsters, I think our national assembly must be, as a matter of urgency, engaged on how to garner support for the victims. As a constitutional democracy, such a noble request should be channeled through the national assembly.
It is the mandate of our MPs to defend the life of every Gambian, particularly those who have been harmed while in state custody. The noble steps being taken by April 14 peaceful protesters had undoubtedly aroused the conscience of a nation under seige. In fact, their action was the beginning of our pedestal to freedom. Ask Jammeh if you want further details.
We appreciate the support and goodwill President Adama Barrow has been rendering to Nogoi Njie and other victims since he took over power. However, the victims need overseas check-up and treatment, which must be funded by the government. The President can’t fund what is entirely the business of the government. A separate budget line can be augmented to facilitate it.
Since The Gambia lacks powerful charities or agencies that deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) cases, seeking support outside the country is justifiable in addressing the desperate situation of Jammeh’s PTSD victims.
In the United Kingdom, soldiers who suffer post-traumatic stress mainly because of wsr, are assisted by charities. It is a must for the government to chip in and save the lives of victims of State lawlessness. Hence, NAMs need to call for the creation of ‘Emergency Victim Relief Fund’. The TRRC can look in detail into the overall issues and any future compensation later but for now, the proposed relief fund establishment will solve the problem.
The dictatorship era of Yahya Jammeh is a dark mark on our history that must be well managed.
The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice and Finance can create a quick reaction task force for this discussion. Heroines like Ms Nogoi Njie requires evacuation, young men like Modou Ngum all need serious medical expert treatment now.
We all respect the TRRC, however, the process will not help the immediate pains of our comrades.
Gambians have spoken well and acted appropriately to do what they can, now let the government hold the bull by the horns and get help for these victims. It can be done in many ways. All that is needed is walking the talk.
Alh Suntou Touray