Jammeh Butchered 38 Ghanaians
For the first time after several years, authorities in The Gambia have published the list of 51 immigrants who were said to have been murdered under Yahya Jammeh, then President of the country.
The list includes 38 Ghanaians who also lost their lives but their families may not even know they are dead.
According to the list, a copy of which is with The Chronicle, apart from the 38 Ghanaians, there were also three Sierra Leoneans, two Togolese, two Ivorians, two Senegalese, one Liberian, one Nigerian and one Congolese, who were murdered alongside the Ghanaians.
The 38 Ghanaians who were murdered and captured on the list are; Kwaku J.K. Aawamuful, James Okiyere, Manila Alpha, Jul Macoum, Yawe Mence, Awowa Pound, Osei, Aisha K. Amoah, Sulayman Abdoulie, Bright Antowa and Kwako Amtoie.
Others are Ageikum, Kasim Amadou, Kwaku Appiah, Benjamin Kopna, Keptia Eric, Kwadwo Ampadou, Richard Bokia, Edmond Komeh, Peter Asire, Kwadwo Antewi, Peter Mensah, Emmanuel Nati, Yawo Kierre, Asante Aisha, Koranten Marshall, Maciel Tawrir, Peter Achena, John Carson and Nelson Frempong.
The rest are, Faith Sheet, George Amo, Haruna Musa, Mohammed Bayo, Johnson Agiyerre, Joseph Mensah, Juju Mengs, Richmond Body and Bai Daniel.
Nationals from other countries who were also murdered are: Ogsai Pedro Kawsi and Abegbo Yaweh –Togo; Loca Esperant -Congo, Samuel Solomon, Edrissa Touray and Assan Conteh -Sierra Leone; Adeya Koffi and Tano Janet -Cote d’ Ivoire; David Gibson –Liberia; Momodou Korka Jallow and Ismail Lacone -Senegal, and John Amaseh -Nigeria.
Though the list available to The Chronicle indicates that 38 Ghanaians lost their lives, other reports put the number at 44, in addition to 10 Nigerians, two Senegalese, three Ivorians and one Togolese.
In 2005, a group of migrants, including Ghanaians, who were on their way to seek greener pastures in Europe, were allegedly mistaken for coup plotters by Jammeh’s intelligence.
The Gambia security forces on July 22, 2005 arrested the migrants, who were bound for Europe, after their boat landed in The Gambia.
Over the next 10 days, almost all the migrants were killed in The Gambia or taken across the border into Senegal, shot and their bodies dumped in wells.
Following the 2005 massacre, with Ghana being the hardest hit, a campaign was launched in Ghana calling for the prosecution of former Gambian leader, Yahya Jammeh.
In fact, the collective effort to seek justice for the Ghanaian victims started as far back as in 2007, when Africa Legal Aid (AFLA) and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Africa Office, established The Gambia Task Force. Other Ghana based groups and individuals later joined the campaign.
One Martin Kyere, a Ghanaian, who said he was among those arrested, but escaped into the forest from the moving truck, before the migrants were killed shortly thereafter, said he began to rally families of the other victims for truth and justice.
Whilst several Gambian soldiers have confessed to the murders and said they acted on Jammeh’s orders, the chain of events leading to the killings is unclear, together with the true identities of the victims.
The Gambia returned 6 bodies to Ghana in 2009, but the families questioned whether the bodies were really those of the murdered migrants.
The United Nations (UN) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in 2008, formed a joint investigative team, which produced a report in April 2009.
Though the report was not made public, the UN wrote that it concluded The Gambian government was not “directly or indirectly complicit” in the deaths and disappearances, blaming it on “rogue” elements in Gambia’s security services “acting on their own.”
The above was in sharp contrast to confessions by 30 former officials under Jammeh – including 11, who were directly involved in the tragedy, that they acted on the orders of Jammeh, who now resides in Equatorial Guinea.
Editor’s Note: Though The Gambian authorities have misspelt the names of the Ghanaian victims, we have decided to maintain them because that is what appears on official records in the West African nation. It is also worthy of note that it was The Chronicle that first broke this story in Ghana, which sent chills around the world.