The Chairman of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, Dr. Lamin J. Sise has said that the discovery of remains of ‘soldiers’ at Yundum Barracks confirmed the existence of mass graves in The Gambia.
Dr. Sise was speaking to families of the victims of the 11 November, 1994 alleged coup plot at the Yundum Barracks where forensic investigators discovered remains of seven people believed to be soldiers killed over the alleged plot.
“We cannot do this in secret because we have to come here and show to the family members of the victims, show it to the people of this country so that everyone can know what this country went through. If anybody doubts whether people were killed or they were buried in mass graves, here is the evidence and this should never happen again here in this country,” he said.
Dr. Sise described the discovery of the remains as an emotional moment for not only the staff of the TRRC, but also for the families of the victims who were invited to the barracks to see the remains of their loved ones, 25 years after they were allegedly killed.
“For us to come here and see the remains is not an easy task for anybody. The TRRC is being given a task to put together the historical record of what happened and we will execute this task as mandated by the National Assembly,” he assured the families.
Delving into the discovery of the remains, forensic archaeologist, Superintendent Thomas R.J Gomez said bones, a finger ring, seven skulls, seven underwear and seven wire codes used to tie the victims hands, were found during the excavation process. He said the excavation would continue, adding that about two dozen soldiers are believed to have been buried in Yundum Barracks.
“We want to thank God for this day because we never thought this would come. We have suffered enough for the past twenty five years and we had nowhere to wipe our tears. But today we are grateful to the TRRC for making this possible,” Said Fatou Manneh, who spoke on behalf of the victims’ families present.
Her brother, Bakary Manneh (Nyancho), a victim of the 11 November, 1994 alleged coup plot.