Turkey, Africa

4 Gambians set for free medical treatment in Turkey

4 people heading to Turkey for free medical treatment were wounded during reign of strongman leader Yahya Jammeh

Mustapha K. Darboe   | 13.12.2019
4 Gambians set for free medical treatment in Turkey

BANJUL, Gambia

Four Gambians severely wounded during the reign of a longtime strongman are heading to Turkey to get free medical treatment and accommodation courtesy of the Turkish state. 

The quartet got their plane tickets to Turkey at a ceremony on Friday hosted by country’s Truth Commission, formed to deal with the legacy of former President Yahya Jammeh, who stepped down in January 2017.

Turkey gives 25 free treatments to Gambians each year, said Ismail Sefa Yuceer, the Turkish ambassador to the West African country. Yuceer first met with the quartet in 2017.

“The victims have suffered a lot. They have sacrificed a lot -- their lives and health -- for this country,” he said.

“We consider support like this to be very sacred.”

Abdou Karim Jammeh, Yusupha Mbaye and Oumie Jagne are students who were shot by security forces in 2000 during a protest in which 14 people were killed. They still live with severe health problems.

Nogoi Njie, arrested on April 14, 2016 during a protest for election reforms, was allegedly tortured. Protest leader Ebrima Solo Sandeng died. After their release, five other protesters died, allegedly due to torture.

Their plane tickets were sponsored by individual Gambians and institutions, including Papa Yusupha Njie of Unique Solutions and the Gambia Ports Authority, and the Truth Commission.

The commission also provided a money allowance for the group. Baba Galleh Jallow, the commission’s executive secretary, said the allowances will be paid from the $1 million the government gave to the commission.

The ceremony was attended by Commission Chair Lamin Sise. Adelaide Sosseh, head of the commission’s Victim Support Unit, said: “Turkey has more than demonstrated that it is willing to help.”

Turkey’s assistance was welcomed by Baba Hydara, chair of the Victim Center.

“I want to thank Turkey for this. We will never forget it. This is the first time we have a support of this magnitude from a foreign mission in the country,” he said.

“This is an opportunity we have been waiting for for 19 years,” said Abdou Karim Jammeh. “We thank the partners immensely for their help.”

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