TRRC reveal findings over execution of West African migrants

Mamos Media

By Adama Tine

The Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) recently made its report public and revealed a series of findings including the execution of 67 West African migrants under the orders of former President Yahya Jammeh.

The Commission underscores the consistency of the witnesses in relation to details of the arrest, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions in The Gambia of over 67 unarmed West African economic migrants who the Jammeh regime perceived as mercenaries.

The Truth Commission observes that even if they were criminals or in any other way breached Gambia’s laws, due process ought to have been followed.

According to the report, all the witnesses who testified about the incident provided consistent accounts of the events which occurred in July 2005 and the subsequent period with a great degree of similarity.

“The Commission is aware that economic migrants from various parts of West Africa embark on dangerous journeys by small boats with the hope of getting to Europe through the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, a phenomenon which became known as the “back way”.

The incident, the report revealed began in July 2005, when a group of economic migrants from West Africa, predominantly from Ghana, were told that they had to come to the Gambia to connect to a boat that would take them to Europe.

The report explained that on July 21, 2005, their boat set off from Mbour in Senegal and reached a place near Barra on the morning of July 22, 2005. Between five and seven passengers jumped off the boat, swam to the shore and entered Banjul.

However, the report further noted that by late night on the same day, the arrested migrants were transferred by boat from the Barra police station to the Navy Headquarters in Banjul.

Numerous high-ranking officials, the report disclosed, gathered on that night at the Navy Headquarters, including Police Operations Commander Biran Mbye, former Navy Commander, Assan Sarr, Deputy Inspector General of Police Abou Njie, Ngorr Secka, Foday Barry, Baba Saho, Saddy Gassama and other senior NIA officials as well as Kawsu Camara (Bombardier).

“The Commission received evidence that this incident coincided with the 22 July “Revolution Day” celebration, the anniversary of the military takeover on July 22 1994 led by Yahya Jammeh.”

“President Jammeh and other high-ranking officials were attending the festivities at the July 22 Square in Banjul when he was informed that migrants had been apprehended,” the report noted.

“In each failed coup, Jammeh brutally dealt with the coupists. All throughout his presidency, Jammeh was on guard and determined to crush any form of threat to his rule by all means necessary and in the most brutal manner for reasons of deterrence.”

“It may be concluded that when on July 22 2005 he was informed of migrants ashore, the fear and paranoia about a new possible coup gripped him, leading him to make a rushed decision, believing that the migrants were mercenaries or coup-plotters, led him to give direct orders to the Junglers to summarily execute the defenseless harmless migrants.”

Moreover, the report indicated that multiple witnesses testified that nothing in their appearance or behavior suggested that they were more than migrants. The police officers who initially arrested them treated them as migrants and obtained their details.

AT/COB/DAJ/13/01/22

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