Ms. Vabah Gayflor, ECOWAS’s special representative to The Gambia says the sub-regional body regrets the death of Haruna Jatta, a former resident of Kanilai – the birthplace of former President Jammeh who was shot to death in a peaceful protest.
She made these remarks on Tuesday at a side talk with reporters in the ongoing 19th Ordinary Assembly of ECOWAS Health Ministers.
Jatta was shot last year when villagers of Kanilai were protesting to show their displeasure to the presence of ECOMIG troops in their village and was later pronounced death from the gun wounds he sustained.
Although it has not been official confirmed from neither the government of the Gambia nor the ECOMIG forces, he was allegedly killed by the ECOMIG Forces, reports say.
The ECOWAS special Rep Gayflor said: “I wasn’t here but we regretted the incident and there was a statement issued on that and it was unfortunate.”
Ms. Vabah who has lots of experience in such unfortunate incidences as a Liberian said she knew how it feels and it was a regrettable incident.
“I know, in my country where I come from; many more died. I don’t think it was intentional. Anybody that dies especially in a situation like this is regrettable and we still regret it.” “
And we hope, she explained “that was used as a rallying point for those that were involved to rethink and I can assure you that was a turning point. People in the security forces were advised to rethink their approaches especially when you have unarmed people maybe somebody stoned or whatever it was.”
“I’m from a post conflict country but Gambians are not used to this so it was something new and it was unfortunate.”
She expressed her delight with the Kanilai community for their cooperation and said “we still trying to encourage their community and we thank them that they were indeed responsive, lots of delegation went there, people went to talk to them and they were able to turn a situation otherwise that was being volatile into a positive direction.”