By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh
The Government of the Gambia, acting on the recommendation from the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC), has given former president Yahya Jammeh a lifetime ban from holding public office in the Gambia and accepted a recommendation for a 10-year ban on the former vice president, Isatou Njie-Saidy from holding public office.
This is as a result of their roles in the April 10 and 11 students’ demonstration in 2000. The TRRC, after its findings on the student’s demonstration on the 10th and 11th April 2000, concluded that 15 people were killed by the state security officers.
Among the fifteen people killed, twelve(12) were students and two (2) were toddlers, one of whom, according to the TRRC report, was a three-year-old shot in the head by security personnel. The other child was trampled open by students running for their lives. The third non-student who died was a red cross volunteer.
The demonstration was spare headed by the Gambia Students’ Union (Gamsu) following the death of Ebrima Barry and the rape case of Binta Manneh by a security officer.
Ebrima Barry was a 10th-grade student at Foster’s Technical High School In Brikama, West Coast Region. He was reported to have been assaulted by a fire officer which led to his demise.
Binta Manneh, on the other hand, was a grade 7 student at Brikamaba Upper Basic School in CRR. According to the TRRC report, she was raped by a security officer at the independence stadium where she was representing her school in the inter-school athletic competition.
When the news of the wounding and killing of students reached students in the rural Gambia on the 11th of April, things went out of control and the state security officers used force. Two were killed in the Brikamaba area and several were wounded, assaulted and detained in Janjanbureh prison.
In their recommendation to the government of the Gambia, the TRRC recommended Yaya Jammeh be prosecuted and be banned for life from holding public office in the Gambia as well as his then deputy, Isatou Njie-Saidy for ten years.
“The commission recommends that Isatou Njie-Saidy be prosecuted and banned from holding public offices for 10 years and that Yahya Jammeh be banned from holding public office for life for their roles in the massacre of the students on the 10th and 11th April 2000.”
The commission further recommends Yahya Jammeh be prosecuted for all the unlawful detentions, tortures, assaults causing harm and killings of demonstrators because of the orders and instructions given to them.
Gorgui Mboob is also recommended to be prosecuted for assault on Ousman Sabally at St. Augustine High School in Banjul and be banned for five years from holding any public office in the Gambia.
These recommendations are accepted by the Gambia government including observing the 10th and 11th of April every year as public holidays in the Gambia after the sad events that happened in April 2000.