By Omar Bah
The leader of the aborted 30 December 2014 has said that as Gambians begin reunification and reconciliation after Yahya Jammeh, they must ensure that there is no reoccurrence of another tyranny.
Cherno Njie, the ‘financier’ of the attack made these remarks Saturday at the Banjul International Airport upon arrival accompanied by Alagie Barrow, who was also part of the attack.
He said Gambians have permitted evil to solidify its power and allowed it to get a better grip of their bodies.
“This must not happen again; we must re-examine the make-up of The Gambian character in order to better see our mistakes,” he said.
The two men were received at the Airport by Omar Amadou Jallow, Minister of Agriculture, family of the other plotters killed in the event as well as other victims of Jammeh.
“We are all victims of Yahya Jammeh, but Jammeh did not emerge out of a vacuum, he was in some ways a product of and symptoms of our present society. He was enabled time and time again, we cannot pretend to indict him and at the same time absolve ourselves of our ruinous mistakes,” he stressed.
He continued: “Many before us tried to stop the despotic rule of Jammeh and his clique, a number of them paid the ultimate price. Basiru Barrow, Dot Faal, Ndure Cham, Saul Ndow, Deyda Hydara, Solo Sendeng, and countless others”. He said the Jammeh regime imprisoned, tortured, maimed, and traumatized many; the list of victims, including Shyngle Nyassi, ‘is tragically long’.
Mr Njie said three years have now passed since the early morning of December 30th 2014 when a group of Gambian “patriots attempted with purpose and principle to overthrow the illegitimate and tyrannical regime of Yahya Jammeh.”
“We return home as ordinary Gambians. There is nothing special about us, our imprisonment, the momentary loss of our freedom in the United States was but a small price to pay to add our efforts to the long quest to halt the misdeeds of tyrannical power in The Gambia. We recognise evil and together we made our attempt to cast it from our homeland,” he said.
“We paid a heavy price in the loss of three of our compatriots, Colonel Lamin Sanneh, Captain Jaga Jagne and Alhagie Jaja Nyassi. We are home today, to pay tribute to these valiant men. We return to commemorate with their families, friends and love ones,” he added.
Njie said during their stay they will meet with a broad section of Gambian community to listen and learn and discuss the new direction of Gambia, its democracy, the challenges and the opportunities.
“We are hopeful of working with the government and civil society organisations to ensure that no one will ever make the decision we made to free our country; we are hopeful of recuperating after the damage done after 22 years of mis-rule,” he said.
“We are hopeful for rebuilding a nation rid of such violent tragedy. We are hopeful for a country that is safe for children who do not fight for such battles down the road. We feel that we have no other choice,” he concluded.
Meanwhile Agriculture Minister Omar Jallow has hailed Mr Njie and his colleagues as true patriots who contributed immensely to end Jammeh’s 22-year regime.
“Therefore it is not a surprise to me to see this kind of welcome that you are being accorded back to your homeland,” he said.
“You and all those who were ready to make the ultimate sacrifice on that eventful 30th December three years ago, have my sympathy and condolences to all the families who lost their love ones during that eventful day,” he added.
He said Cherno Njie and all the victims and heroes of December 30th have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom, liberty and dignity of Gambians.
“I think you people have done it all, we only have to thank and commend you. We will make sure December 30th, April 10 and 11and the death of Solo Sandeng are commemorated,” he said.
He continued: “If we can commemorate those who sacrificed for the British Crown during the World War 2 every year, why can’t we do it for our own citizens who fought for their homeland for the victory of their children and families?”