Feature – “I was Disabled for 19years,” Abdou Karim Jammeh, Survivor of the 2000 Gambia students Protest.
Abdou Karim Jammeh was one of the lucky survivors of the April 10th and 11th 2000 students protest. A bullet hit the 20-year-old boy on his left knee and cut short his education to only grade 9. The devastating event left young Abdou Karim unable to walk without the support of crutches for 19 years.
“I became a disable, supporting my body with crutches to walking, until 2019, when the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) sent me to Turkey for treatment“.
Two years after his surgery in Turkey, Abdou can walk now without crutches. Nevertheless, the young man continues to feel pain a few months after his return to The Gambia.
In 2002, the then-president Yahya Jammeh suppressed the commemoration of the massacre. But Abdou Karim Jammeh does not want The Gambia to forget the April 10/11 mass killing of innocent students and civilians. “We must set aside this date as a remembrance of our collective history, a commemoration day with prayers for the fallen heroes. It has to be a national holiday as well,” Abdou Karim told us.
Abdou Karim Jammeh wants the end of impunity.
On April 10th, 2000, and a day after, Gambian students took up to the streets to demand justice for two of their pals who fell victim to security forces’ abuse on two separate incidents. It was the beating to death by firefighters of a secondary school student, Ebrima Barry, and the rape of a 13-year-old student by a man in a police outfit. As the government did nothing to investigate the two incidents, The Gambia Students Union (GAMSU) mobilized pupils in a street demonstration to support the late Ebrima Barry and the girl raped by the state agent.
In response, the government sent armed men who used live ammunition, killing 15 demonstrators. Since then, Yahya Jammeh’s regime enacted an indemnity law that covered up the massacre and its perpetrators.
When President Adama Barrow took the presidency in 2017, he promised to investigate the shooting. Barrow’s government has since remained mute on the issue. The glimpse of light only appeared from the truth-seeking commission (TRRC) that looked at the April 10th and 11th 2000 killing as part of its thematic area. Some Jammeh administration officials involved in the government’s brutal response leading to the students’ massacre testified, and Gambians heard testimonies from survivors who narrated what happened.
For Abdou Karim Jammeh, it’s awkward that the government upholds impunity for the shooters and those who ordered the killings. Abdou Karim believes that President Adama Barrow and his administration have enough avenues to activate justice and stop hiding his government’s inaction behind the transitional justice program.
In 2017 Abdou and his fellow survivors petitioned the Gambia Ministry of Justice about the 2000 students’ protest and killings. “There is still no reply from them,” Abdou Karim sadly told us.
“It’s been now 21 years since the tragedy of April 10th, and 11th 2000 happened. We are demanding justice from the Barrow’s administration to prosecute and jail the perpetrators as well as the criminals who did this heinous crime against innocent students.” Added Jammeh
The Victims of the Shooting:
- Reginald Carroll, a student of La Fourmi Institute, died of gunshot wounds.
- Karamo Barrow, a former student of the Institute for Continuing Education, died of gunshot wounds.
- Lamin Bojang, a student of Nusrat Senior Secondary School, died of gunshot wounds.
- Ousman Sabally, a student of Brikamaba Upper Basic School, died of gunshot wounds.
- Sainey Nyabally
- Ousman Sembene
- Bakary Njie
- Claesco Pierra, a resident of New Jeshwang, died of gunshot wounds.
- Momodou Lamin Njie, a student of Gambia Technical Training Institute, died of gunshot wounds.
- Wuyea Foday Mansareh, a student of Tallinding Islamic Institute, died of gunshot wounds.
- Bamba Jobarteh.
- Momodou Lamin Chune, a student of Latrikunda Middle School, died of gunshot wounds.
- Abdoulie Sanyang, from Old Jeshwang, died from accidental trampling.
- Babucarr Badjie, a 10-year-old student, died of gunshot wounds.
- Omar Barrow, a journalist and red Cross volunteer, died of gunshot wounds.