The family of slain army lieutenant, Basiru Barrow Wednesday formally requested for the return of his remains, almost 25 years after he was killed.
According to multiple testimonies from the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, Lt. Barrow was summarily executed on 11 November 1994 in the aftermath of an alleged coup plot. His family wasn’t officially informed about his death, nor was they given his body for burial.
Lt. Barrow’s two wives; Mariama Marong Baldeh and Sunkary Yarboe have testified earlier at the TRRC about his life and death. They described his killing as unlawful, unjustifiable and inhumane, and requested that his remains be given to the family.
“On behalf of the Barrow family, I request for the remains of Lt. Basiru Barrow so he can be given a proper and befitting burial so that his soul can rest in peace. On that note, I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the TRRC. We appreciate all your efforts in helping us to establish the truth about what actually happened on 11 November, 1994,” Barrow’s second wife, Mariama told the TRRC on behalf of the family.
“On behalf of the Basiru Barrow family, today is day we’ve been long waiting for, a day we can boldly tell Gambians that our beloved husband is a patriotic citizen, a great soldier and someone who would never betray his country for selfish and greedy reasons, contrary to the claims of the Junta.”
Mariama described Barrow as a patriot and praised his track record as a soldier, father and husband. “He was never a rebellious. They accused our beloved husband for leading his fellow soldiers to burn down gas stations around the Greater Banjul Area and they used that as a justification to unlawfully execute them (Barrow and other slain soldiers). Knowing the man I married, the father of our kids, I can attest to the fact that he never and would never do such evil and unlawful thought, especially to his beloved country.”
Mariama also used her TRRC appearance to reach out to other families affected by the November 11 incident.
“My message to the families of the victims of the November 11, especially the wives of the fallen soldiers is for them to come out and testify and share all the pains, challenges and hardships they faced because of the lost of their beloved ones. It is only us who can voice out how we were victimized, how we suffered with our children and how we endured the arrests and interrogations in the aftermath of November 11th, 1994”, she said.
She also testified about her encounter with Lt. Almamo Manneh who she described as a close ally of Basirou Barrow and Capt. Edward Singhateh after six years of her husband’s brutal murder.
Barrow’s first wife, Sunkary Yarboe told the commission how he first heard about her husband death on a radio broadcast and spoke extensively about the pain and suffering the family went through for more than two decades after his death.