By Lamin Cham
New evidence forwarded by Human Rights Watch and Trial International linking Jammeh to the death of over 50 West African nationals has put pressure on Ghana whose nationals formed the majority of the dead to consider opening investigations into the matter.
A press conference hosted by the Campaign to Bring Yahya Jammeh to Justice, a coalition of international rights groups at the office of the victims of Jammeh in Kotu yesterday revealed that a team has just completed a visit to Ghana and met President Nana Akufo Addo and families of the migrants killed in The Gambia in July 2005.
According to Aisha Jammeh, who led the delegation to Ghana, President Addo who was Foreign Minister at the time has expressed keen interest in the matter and has promised to get back to the campaign on the matter.
“We met more than 25 family members, orphans, widows and uncles of the killed Ghanaians in The Gambia and each one of them has taken a huge interest in the matter and called on their government to open investigations into the matter in the light of the new evidence,” Aisha Jammeh said.
Marion Volkman, an international rights defender and key member of the campaign, said the new evidence strongly suggested that President Jammeh directed the killings of the West African nationals among them Nigerians, Ivoirians, Togolese and some 44 Ghanaians.
The campaign is lobbying for putting Jammeh on trial, preferably in Ghana, she said.
Madi Jobarteh a Gambian rights defender and advocate coordinator of the campaign said the principal message from these latest findings is that the Gambia government should take the lead now to open “fresh and vigorous” investigation into this matter.
“The Gambia should be concerned and take a leading role because these international atrocities were committed in the name of The Gambia by Yahya Jammeh and it is the duty now to clean our name and image by thoroughly investigating and getting to the bottom of this as a government and people,” Mr Jobarteh said.
Fatou Conteh-Tunkara, identified as widow of Lamin Tunkara, an agent of the migrants who was believed to have been killed with them, explained in tears how while still pregnant she had to rush from police station to station seeking her husband’s whereabouts after he was arrested.
Rights groups believed that Tunkara was killed along with migrants because he knew too much about what happened to them.
One Kawsu Kinteh drew the attention of the campaign to a certain Edrissa Njie, known to be a close friend of Lamin Tunkara who disappeared at the same time.