Mr. Martin Kyere, a survivor of the massacre of about 44 Ghanaians in The Gambia, in 2005, has expressed grave concern over the continued breach of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the governments of Ghana and The Gambia to ensure justice and compensation for the survivors and victims’ families.
The survivor and spokesperson for the victims’ families of the Gambian massacre complained at the press conference,organised by the Jammeh2Justice Ghana Campaign, a Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Kumasi yesterday, that the Nana Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic party (NPP) government has not taken any meaningful steps to get justice and compensation for them.
He complained that even though three soldiers, who were part of the Junglers, a paramilitary force that took direct orders from then President Yahya Abdul-Aziz JemusJunkungJammeh, told The Gambia Truth and Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) that they participated in the unlawful killings of the Ghanaians.
A charged Kyere said lack of action by the Ghanaian government was in negation of the MoU signed by the governments of Ghana and The Gambia, in which they pledged to pursue the matter and bring the perpetrators to justice if new information pointing to complicity in the heinous crime emerged.
The survivor expressed his disappointment in the various administrations of the NPP and NDC for having done very little to ensure justice and compensation.
Kyere said even though several high ranking officials of both the NPP and National Democratic Congress (NDC) administrations have deep knowledge of the facts and circumstances of the matter, no meaningful steps have been taken to resolve the matter.
He mentioned Nana Akufo-Addo, then Foreign Minister, who led the high powered government delegation to The Gambia, two weeks after the eight bodies were found in the Brufut Forest.
The aggrieved survivor also cited Mr. John DramaniMahama, the Vice President of Ghana when the NDC administration signed the MoU with The Gambia in 2009 and lamented on the inability of both administrations to ensure justice and compensation.
He has, therefore, called on all presidential candidates in the upcoming December 7 elections to commit to ensure justice and compensation for the victims’ families and survivors of the July 22, 2005 massacre and enforced disappearance of Ghanaians in The Gambia.
He hoped the Ghana government will lead the quest for justice and compensation for the victims’ families and stressed that they ( victims’ families and survivors) will have no option than to take the case to the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, if justice is not ensured soon from the governments of Ghana and The Gambia.
He said even when the TRRC announced that the Ghanaians qualify to appear before it (TRRC) to have their case heard, is dragging its feet to provide the rules of procedure to guide them in the participation in the proceedings.
According to Kyere, the Jammeh2Justice Ghana Campaign in February this year wrote to the TRRC to reiterate the request in October 2019 for guidance about TRRC’s rules of procedure, it is yet to respond to it in the face of its announcement.
He urged the TRCC to provide the requested information and prioritize the case of the Ghanaians which constitutes the single highest number of unlawful killings and enforced disappearances in the Gambia and give it the needed attention it deserves.
He also wants the Gambia TRRC to subpoena current and former high ranking Gambian officials who relayed Jammeh’s instructions to the security chief and prosecuted the unlawful killings.
He mentioned UN Ambassador Curtis Ward, who led the UN/ECOWAS fact-finding team to investigate the killings in 2008, as well as Dr. Mohammed IbnChambas, as the Executive Secretary of ECOWAS at the time of the killings.
Meanwhile, Kyere has also reiterated his doubts that the remains of the eight Ghanaians that were reburied at the Osu Cemetery in 2009 could not be Ghanaians.He claims that those reburied at the Osu Cemetery in Accra are not the actual remains of the Ghanaians who were killed and buried in a mass grave in the Gambia in 2005.
Martin Kyere explained his position in the fact that no DNA test was conducted on the remains that were exhumed from a mass grave in the Gambia in 2009, nearly four years after the mass burial in the Gambia, and subsequently reburied at the Osu Cemetery.
He also said, there was a heavy stench around the coffins containing the eight bodies when they were brought to the funeral grounds at the forecourt of the State House, adding that the coffins were not opened.
From Sebastian R. Freiku&Thomas AgbenyegahAdzey, KumasiRead Full Story