World, Africa

Gambia: Jammeh victims seek justice

New group says former strongman must pay for human rights abuses

30.03.2017
Gambia: Jammeh victims seek justice FILE PHOTO

By Mustapha K Darboe

BANJUL, Gambia

A group of Gambians who suffered torture or lost relatives under the country’s former dictator Yahya Jammeh have formed a victims’ committee to seek justice.

The groups’ leader presented the organization to the Gambian media on Thursday.

Ousainou Mbenga told Anadolu Agency their ultimate goal is for Jammeh -- who ruled for more than two decades -- and his accomplices to be tried and punished.

Under Jammeh, thousands of journalists, political opponents and ordinary citizens were jailed without trial or simply disappeared.

Thursday’s launch venue was full of people who had lost loved ones. Many fought back tears as they told their stories.

The group made a list of demands including reparation payments as well as the “immediate freeze of assets of Jammeh and his enablers”.

A sister of a missing Gambian journalist -- Chief Ebrima Manneh, now confirmed dead -- told Anadolu Agency they were “calling for justice to de done”.

“With all the things that he has done, Jammeh cannot go free,” said Ndey Kane, widow of Mamut Ceesay who was reportedly killed in 2013.

A Gambian human rights lawyer, Lamin Camara, said the victims could seek compensation from the current government since Jammeh acted on his authority as head of state.

There are currently nine former National Intelligence Agency officials on trial for the alleged murder of an opposition activist, Solo Sandeng.

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