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TRRC Working With Forensic Experts to Identify Disappeared Victims

The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission is working with forensic experts to identify people who have disappeared during the regime of Yahya Jammeh.

The commission is mandated by the TRRC Act to “establish and make known the fate or whereabouts of disappeared victims”.

In a press release circulated Friday, the TRRC said “part of the process of identification involves obtaining a detailed description about the missing person at the time of their disappearance.” The release said the commission would families with missing relatives to provide important information.

“Families will be asked to provide details about their missing relative such as the age of the person at the time they disappeared, details of their physical appearance (such as the person’s height, their physical health – for example, did the person have sore joints, or ever go to the doctor for a broken bone; did the person have stained teeth, or suffer from a tooth ache or a broken tooth), or any other information regarding distinguishing features.”

Other information that may be useful for the TRRC, according to the TRRC, are details about what the missing person was wearing at the time they disappeared (including details such as jewelry, watches, glasses).

Dr. Baba Galleh, TRRC’s Executive Secretary

“The TRRC understands that providing details about a missing loved one can be very emotional, and for many families this will be the first time in over 25 years that efforts have been made to help identify a missing family member. For this reason, the TRRC offers ongoing psycho-social support for families coming to provide information.”

The release said the first cases that the TRRC was working on related to the events of November 11, 1994 at the Yundum and Fajara Military Barracks. It called on families with missing relatives related to this event to make contact with the TRRC.

It would be recalled that multiple witnesses who appeared before the TRRC testified that soldiers who were allegedly killed over the November 11 alleged failed coup were buried at different locations, including Yundum Barracks and Nyambai Forest in Brikama.

The TRRC stressed that while efforts are made “to attempt to locate and identify missing persons in The Gambia, no absolute guarantee for identification can be made.”

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