Human Rights, News

Gambia: A Call For Justice

Musa Jobateh  Coordinator and Head of Programmes
Musa Jobateh, IPDG’s coordinator and head of Programmes

(JollofNews) On April 10 and 11 in the year 2000 (16 years ago) students took to the streets to demonstrate peacefully against the alleged murder of a student Ebrima Barry of Brikama, West Coast Region, and the alleged rape case of a 13-year-old teenage student of Brikama-ba, Central River Region.

In pursuit of justice, the Gambia Students’ Union (Gamsu) that led the demonstration demanded government to investigate the alleged rape and murder cases.
Initiative for the Promotion of Democracy and Good Governance (IPDG) in commemorating the peaceful demonstration turned bloody when security officers shot life bullets causing the death of more than a dozen young people including a Red Cross volunteer and journalist and students hereby calls on the government to implement the recommendations of the commission of inquiry accordingly.

According to the Coroner’s Inquest the deaths were caused by live bullets from gun shots and only one child died because of stampedewhich was an accident.
It was unfortunate that the Government of the Gambia had dismissed the finding and the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the incident.

The Gambia Government rejected recommendation 5, 6,7,8,9 and 10 of the Commission which includes bringing those responsible to book and ensure that justice is done.

The government rejected that top police authorities on the ground at Kanifing on April 10, 2000 should accept responsibility for the tragedy.

An Indemnity Bill attached to a “Notice of Urgency” from the Presidency was tabled before the National DemonAssembly by the then Secretary of State (Minister) for Interior, Ousman Badjie which was passed to indemnify officers who should be held responsible for actions that led to loss of young lives.

The indemnity law is an affront to human rirghts.

In commemorating these sad days in the annals of our history, we are remembering the following that lost their lives:
Abdoulie Sanyang of Old Jeshwang who died from a stampede and that his death was as a result of an accident.
Bubacarr Badjie– student
Wuyeh Fode Mansally– student
Momodou Lamin Njie – student
Calisco Prera – student
Karamo Barrow – student–
Reginald Carrol – student
Momodou Lamin Chune – student
Lamin A. Bojang – student
Ousman Sabally – student
Bamba Jobarteh– student
Sainey Nyabally – student
Ousman Sembene – student
Bakary Njie – student
Omar Barrow– Journalist and Red Cross volunteer

IPDG calls on the Government of the Gambia to make thorough findings into the plight of the survivors and give them proper medical treatment and required rehabilitation to those who now acquired some form of disabilities as a result of gun shots.

We further recommend the Government of the Gambia to repeal the Indemnity lawand respect the recommendations of the commission of inquiry, compensate families of victims and apply rule of law by bringing the perpetuators to justice.

In addition to our recommendations it is worth noting that at the time of the student demonstration till date, Section 25 (1) (d) that guarantees freedom of speech, conscience, Assembly Association and movement states: “Every person shall have the right to freedom to assemble and demonstrate peaceably and without arms.”

Even thoughSection 18 (1) of the 1997 constitution guarantees protection of right to life; some students were killed or maimed as a results of gun shots from security officer who should have been their protector at the time.

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