Ghanaian Foreign Minister, Alhaji Muhammed Mumuni has urged the Gambian government to ensure an amicable resollution of the issue surrounding the murdered Ghanaians whose bodies were found in Gambia in July 2005.
According to a report by Ghana Broadcasting Corperation, published Friday January 8, 2010, the Ghanaian Foreign Minister was speaking to a Gambian delegation headed by his counterpart, Ousman Jammeh, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Co-operation and Gambians Abroad. Mr Mumuni reportedly assured the delegation that his country will continue to work towards strengthening bilateral relations with its West African neighbour, The Gambia, noting that the two countries traditionally have excellent relations that must not be destroyed by recent unfortunate incidents.
Relations between Gambia and Ghana took a turn for worse when bodies of about 150 Ghanians were discovered in Gambia in 2005, brutally murdered by unknown persons. The then Ghana government under former President John Kufuor pointed accusing fingers to the Gambian authorities style of treatment of the matter helped aggravate the situation. Various reports said that Ghanaians felt the Gambian government did not do enough to get to the bottom of the problem. The situation went so bad that ordinary Gambians who found themselves in Ghana occasionally complained of maltreatment or harassment in the hands of Ghanaians as retaliation. It took a United Nations backed ECOWAS fact-finding group, which eventually cleared the Gambian government of dirrect involvement in the murder, to ease the tention.
But since then, relations hadn’t been that smooth, and the absense of any clear path to resolving the issue for good appears to have kept the feeling of animosity that had so much dented the relationship between them.
The present Ghanaian, however, appears to be making headway with its Gambian counterpart. The two countries are reported to have agreed to work towards recommendations of that fact-finding committee set up by ECOWAS and the UN to investigate the matter. Foreign Minister Mumuni is however of the view that only a genuine feeling of readiness from the Gambian authorities can resolve the years of dissatisfaction. He told the Gambian delegation that as unfortunate as that incident was, it was important to treat it with the highest attention to ensure justice in order not to leave any traces of impunity. He was quick to add that the delegation from the Gambia is ample testimony that the government of The Gambia was committed to having the issue resolved amicably.
The Ghanian chief diplomat also stressed the need to comprehensively address the issue of human trafficking in the sub-region to help prevent future occurrences.
The head of the Gambian delegation, Ousman Jammeh, described the July 2005 incidence as ”regretable,” and assured that it had however not affected the lives of Ghanaians living in The Gambia. Minister Jammeh then added that the incident is an isolated one, and, echoing his Ghanaian counterpart, stressed that it should not destroy the good relations the two countries shared.
Jammeh went on to say that his government is appreciated of efforts that have been made by ECOWAS, the UN and the Federal Republic of Nigeria to help address the issue.