By Ousman A. Marong
Eric Yaw, a Ghanaian migrant who escaped death in The Gambia on 22nd July 2005 has informed the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) that he was detained at Gambia’s Police Headquarters together with other West African migrants for 11 months.
Mr. Yaw who testified from Ghana through a video link on Tuesday added that all forms of torture were meted on him and his fellow detainees.
He recalled how he arrived in the Gambia on 16th July 2005 with a group of other migrants from several West African countries, adding that when he left the canoe that they were travelling in, to try and communicate with their Gambian contact; Lamin Tunkara, he was assaulted by some people who caught and beat him after accusing him of being a thief.
“I was later put in a taxi and driven to Banjul Police Headquarters”, he said. He added that at Police Headquarters he met some other detainees, alleging that they were beaten by one Sergeant Ndure prior to their statements being obtained.
He alleged that his hands were cuffed so tight that he cried, adding that they were also denied food for several days and their monies taken away from them.
Yaw said because of the handcuffs, one of his hands is still not functioning as expected. He also accused Sergeant Ndure of stripping him naked and electrocuting his genitals, which he said affected him to an extent that he is unable to get married until now.
He however said one Ebenezer, who was a teacher in the Gambia helped to facilitate their release with the help of a lawyer. He said they were subsequently deported to their respective countries.
“We were later informed that all our other fellow passengers on the boat with us were later killed,” the witness said.
He stated that because of the trauma and inhuman treatment he suffered in the hands of the Gambian security forces, he is scared any time he sees the police in Ghana.
It could be recalled that in July 2005, several West African migrants were arrested in this country after they were suspected of being mercenaries and they were extra-judicially killed by the security forces, allegedly on the orders of former President Jammeh.