Gambia: Remains of coup bid victims handed to families
3 bodies of soldiers exhumed, remains handed to grieving families after 4 years
By Mustapha K Darboe
Gambia’s Justice Ministry on Wednesday handed over the remains of former soldiers who were killed in a coup bid against former ruler Yahya Jammeh in 2014.
Lt. Col. Lamin Sanneh, a former presidential guard, and Capts. Njaga Jagne and Alhagie Jaja Nyass, both former U.S. soldiers of Gambian descent, were killed during the attack and their bodies kept at a mortuary in capital Banjul for more than five months.
The three bodies were later buried at a firing range in Tintinto, a small settlement near Jammeh’s village Kanilai.
Following Jammeh’s December 2016 election defeat, the new government exhumed the bodies with the help of international partners.
While handing the remains to families in Banjul, Gambia’s Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said the exhumation is part of the government’s commitment in upholding human rights of its citizens.
"Every human being deserve a befitting burial regardless of the circumstances under which they died," said Tambadou.
The former Gambian leader has been accused of several human rights violations and until today there are several missing victims.
The families of the dead soldiers who collected their DNA certificates have urged the government to intensify efforts at uncovering other hidden graves.
Gambian activists described the soldiers as “heroes” and they are conducting prayers for them on Friday.