Barely two weeks after the former governing party staged a mega demonstration calling for the ‘immediate return’ of ex-President Yahya Jammeh, hundreds of victims of his (Jammeh’s) two-decade long regime on Saturday took to the streets. The ‘march for justice’ was spearheaded by the Victims’ Center as a good number of Gambians tied to the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) continue to embrace denial.
Protesting victims’ petition was addressed to President Adama Barrow. In the said petition handed over to the government spokesperson, Ebraima Sankareh, The Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations (GCVHRV) reminded the Highest Office of the land about the magnitude of the crimes committed under the previous regime.
“A number of ordinary citizens, members of civil society including journalists as well as government officials, were abducted, arrested, illegally detained and imprisoned,” read the protest petition.
Since the show of force orchestrated by the APRC, the Victims’ Center enter has been taking the lead in the massive backlash that ensued.
The three-page petition also highlighted “other human rights violations concerns, including corruption and embezzlement of public funds, land or property expropriation, forced labour and fake HIV treatment that resulted to some deaths and other complications among people living with HIV.”
The peaceful procession whic was punctuated by chants of “We want Justice,” started at the Westfield runabout and ended at Bagadaji junction.
The Victim’s Center Chairperson, Sheriff Kijera, told this medium that the march was triggered by the urgent need to call on Gambian leader to show a commitment similar to what Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou has displayed during the opening of the 2020 Legal Year.
Weighing in on the stand taken by the APRC, Kijera said the party is not a political organisation.
“As far as we are concerned, we categorise Yahya Jammeh as a terrorist. He has been terrorising Gambians from July 1994 to January 2017,” he added. “Jammeh is a fugitive from justice.”
He described the former governing party as a “terrorist movement.”
Aji Mummy Ceesay, mother of Alhagie Mamour Ceesay, urged Gambian to take into consideration the plight of the victims.
She said some victims’ families will find it very difficult to have closure as they are still left in the dark about where the remains of their loved ones were interred.
She blamed Jammeh and his acolytes for the predicament of the country during the previous 22 years. “They must face justice,” she voiced out while provoking a wave of applause.
Dodou Kassa Jatta, who was arrested 27 times by the former regime, decried the move taken by Jammeh’s enablers to call for his ‘immediate return.’
Jatta, who is scheduled to make an appearance before the truth commission, promised to make startling revelations that would be a direct indictment of the previous regime.
Today’s peaceful march witnessed the participation of leading political figures in the likes of Omar Amadou Jallow (OJ) and Lawyer Ousainou Darboe. They both added their voices to the chorus of recriminations.
OJ condemned the way the death row inmates were killed, revealing that they were not executed…but suffocated to death.
“One of them, Lamin Darboe, committed his crime in 1985. He was sentenced to death and Sir Dawda K. Jawara commuted it into life imprisonment,” he said. “We, as Parliamentarians, abolished the death sentence in 1990. Why should Yahya Jammeh kill Lamin Darboe in 2012?”
United Democratic Party (UDP), Ousainou Darboe, who also spoke to this medium, denounced the way the APRC has been aiding and abetting Yahya Jammeh in all these atrocities.
Darboe accused the APRC of undermining the integrity of the TRRC. “I think those people should really be arrested,” he said.