By Halimatou Ceesay
Families of the victims of ex Gambian president Yahya Jammeh, yesterday gathered at the entrance of the Gambia Supreme Court in Banjul demanding truth and justice for their loved ones that were tortured, made to disappear and killed during 22 years of APRC’s ruling.
Delivering statement at the gathering Zainab Lowe said the Victim Center with the families of forcibly disappeared, tortured and killed by Jammeh has petitioned the interior ministry for the truth.
“The Interior Ministry have exhumed some remains of those that lost their lives in ending dictatorship, and their families and friends have no idea about their whereabouts. Time for waiting is over, the truth must be told and the remains of those exhumed must be returned to families for befitting burials,” she said.
In 2017, the Gambian police had exhumed dead bodies in order to ascertain the causes of their deaths.
Mammie Ceesay, whose son was confirmed dead last year after he went missing since 2013, said she has always been traumatized.
“We are out here to pressurize the government to deliver justice for the victims and their families. We want justice. My son went missing and later confirmed dead and I believed he was killed,” She emphasized that they will not relent until justice is done.
Fatou Manneh sister to late ex-Lt Almamo Manneh of the gambia armed forced, said they would never forgive Jammeh for his crimes. “How could we forgive when we don’t know how our beloved ones died or how they were buried,” she lamented.
Other speakers included mother of a Gambia-US citizen Alhagie Mamut Ceesay, Alagie Jaja Nyass’s cousin Momodou Njie also a victim of unlawful arrest and imprisoned, Banka Manneh, and Alagie Saidykhan, victim of 2016 mass UDP arrest, all expressed their pains and demand justice from the government.
Speaking for the Gambia government at the scene, Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow, executive secretary to the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) said they will make sure justice is done for the victims.
“I don’t know whether everyone will get the type of justice they are demanding for because I don’t know what they are thinking but we will manage the process to make sure everything goes well,” he said.
He added that they are setting up the commission as they are recruiting staff for the secretariat.
The vigil was organized by the Gambia Centre for Human Rights Violation to commemorate those that suffered under the former regime.