Massacre Of Ghanaians: “Subpoena Yankuba Sonko, ‘Jesus’ Badjie”, Survivor And Families To TRRC
The lone survivor and the victims’ families of About 44 Ghanaians massacred in the Gambia in 2005 have this Tuesday asked that the Gambia based Truth, reconciliation and reparation Commission (TRRC) subpoena currently serving Adama Barrow and former Yahya Jammeh administration officials involved, directly or indirectly in the July 2005 massacre, to specifically testify on the killing of the migrants. This, they say includes Gambia current minister of Interior Yankuba Sonko, and current Basse Police Commissioner Ensa Badjie.
15 years ago, a group of 54 migrants among whom 44 were Ghanaians nationals, boarded a canoe en route to Europe from Senegal via The Gambia. The group, as well as its scout in The Gambia, got arrested in a Barra wharf at the northern bank of River Gambia, not far from Banjul. From eye witnesses’ reports and the perpetrators’ recounts under oath in hearings at the TRRC, the migrants were summarily executed in two sequences at “the orders of Yahya Jammeh“. Only one survivor miraculously escaped Yahya Jammeh’s hit squad of the “Junglers” at the moment of the killings, near the Senegalese region of Casamance.
Martin Kyere expressed his disappointment at knowing that known Yahya Jammeh “Junglers’” he saw killing his peers continue to walk freely in The Gambia, although they openly admitted under oath and confessed to have actively participated in the killings. Martin’s disappointment is bigger as he says that some Jammeh’s regime officials involved in the massacre, or its cover-up, are now serving President Adama Barrow’s administration. On his behalf and on behalf of the victims’ families of the 44 massacred Ghanaians, Martin Kyere demands that the officials of the Jammeh administration involved in the issue, now serving current President Adama Barrow, be asked to testify before the TRRC.
“Some of these Gambian officials will include current Minister of Interior, Yankuba Sonko and current Gambia Police Commissioner in Ensa “Jesus” Badjie who destroyed the diary log of the Barra police station which recorded the Migrants’ arrest and made a new log and backdated it, according to a 2018 report by Human Rights Watch and TRIAL International. These officials also carried out a cover-up of the unlawful killings of the Ghanaians and other West African migrants before international investigators from the UN and ECOWAS arrived in the Gambia to investigate the unlawful killings“, Martin Kyere said in a statement read before the media in Accra.
Beyond the two officials he namely mentioned, Mr. Kyere expressed hope that the Truth seeking Commission in The Gambia will invite all individuals directly and indirectly involved one way or the other during and after the massacre. “Our expectation is that the Gambia TRRC will subpoena current and former high ranking Gambian officials including those who arrested the migrants at Barra beach, who relayed Jammeh’s instructions to his security chiefs, who transported us to the Naval headquarters, who killed a first set of 8 migrants in Brufut, who held the second group in detention in Banjul, and who took that group to the Gambia-Senegal border and killed all except me, Martin Kyere who escaped“.
William Nyarko, the Coordinator, Jammeh2Justice Ghana Coalition & Executive Director, Africa Center for International Law and Accountability ( ACILA) also spoke for the Ghanaian families of those who were massacred in The Gambia in July 2005. William Nyarko is bewildered at noting that over a year after the killers’ confessions, not a single relative of the Ghanaian victims, or the lone survivor of the massacre, have been invited to tell their stories before the Gambia’s Truth seeking Commission. This he said, despite several letters addressed to the TRRC that have been never replied to.
“In October 2019, and with guidance and support from the Jammeh2Justice Ghana Coalition we wrote to the Gambia TRRC arguing that Martin Kyere and the Ghanaian families’ of victims qualify as victims under the Gambia Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Act, 2017 and that they’re standing to appear before the TRRC to which the TRRC agreed. In February this year, we filed affidavits evidence and sent them to the TRRC. Last month, the TRRC announced it would hear the migrants’ case. Following this announcement, we again wrote to the TRRC this month, reiterating our earlier requests in October 2019 for guidance; when it would set our case to be heard as well as provide us with information about how many victims’ families and survivors the TRRC intends to invite to enable us to prepare adequately. As I speak, the TRRC has not officially responded to any of our requests”.
Recalling that all lives matter and that the Ghanaians do not want to believe that their case is not being given the needed attention because they are not Gambians, Martin Kyere made a strong call to the TRRC.
“We urge the TRRC to prioritize our case and let us have our day of hearing. We urge the TRRC to hear our case, which constitutes the single highest number of unlawful killings and enforced disappearances in the Gambia, the attention it deserves”.