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Ghanaian victims petition Gambia gov’t

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By Tabora Bojang

Survivors and families of over 30 Ghanaians killed in Gambia in 2005, have petitioned Justice Minister Dawda Jallow complaining they have not received any information concerning the progress and procedures on the implementation of the TRRC recommendations and making demands on a variety of issues.

Ida Persson, a special adviser on transitional justice at the Ministry of Justice, received the petition during a public lecture on transitional justice organised by the Women’s Association for Victims’ Empowerment WAVE in Bakau Friday .

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In July 2005 about 44 Ghanaians and 15 other West African migrants including one Gambian were unlawfully killed by the Gambian security forces.

The truth commission (TRRC) report found that the massacre was perpetrated and then covered up by state authorities under the directives of former president Jammeh.

The commission recommended for the prosecution of persons involved in the act and recommended the payment of about D32 million in compensation.

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According to the petitioners, the Gambia Government white paper released in May 2022, has stated that reparations to the migrants should be paid through their respective governments as soon as possible.

“Strangely we have not received any information or communications concerning the progress and procedures on the implementation of the TRRC report, nor is the Ghana Government communicating with us although we have communicated several times to them,” the petitioners said.

The Ghanaian victims demanded that the “government of the Gambia communicate with them concerning the TRRC report implementation, prosecute former president Jammeh and the Junglers for the unlawful disappearances and killing of the victims, pay reparations recommended by the truth commission, exhume the dead bodies and give them to the families for proper burial and provide psychological counselling services to the family members.”

The petitioners include four survivors, Martin Kyere who testified before the truth commission detailing how he escaped through the Foni forest and ran into Casamance when the migrants were being allegedly lined up to be killed in the bushes.

Other survivors include Eric Nana Yaw, Daniel Amankwah and Robert Essien.

Special Adviser Ms Persson, who promised to deliver the petition to the Justice Minister, assured the Ghanaian victims that the government is committed and working on actionable plans to serve justice, accountability and provision of reparations to all victims.

She said efforts are underway to expedite work of the Reparations Commission established by an Act of parliament this year to administer the government’s compensation fund for payment of reparations to victims.

Madam Persson also informed victims that the government has recently passed a new law that will establish a Special Prosecutor’s Office that will be tasked with determining prosecutions before a Special Division and an internationalised tribunal court.

WAVE’s ongoing public lectures on transitional justice continues to engage diverse audiences from government, civil society and victims to facilitate dialogue, share experiences, and promote understanding of challenges faced by victims in seeking justice, truth, healing and reconciliation.

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