By Alhagie Jobe
Gambians are mourning yet another state orchestrated murder of an opposition supporter in custody.
Ebrima (Solo) Kurumah died in the early hours of Saturday at the RVH/FSTH in Banjul after an unsuccessful surgery that was performed on him overnight.
Observers say the fact that he was operated on without the consent of his family raise doubts and tantamount to murder by the state.
Also Kurumah was severely sick in prison and was constantly denied medical. The prison authorities only rushed him to the hospital when his conditions became unmanageable. Even there according to our sources, his hospital bed was cordoned off by armed guards. Despite numerous pleas from his family, prison guards had refused to allow him nutritious homemade food to be delivered to him while in hospital.
In a message posted on its Facebook page, Gambia’s largest opposition UDP denounced the dead in state custody of Mr Kurumah who until his death was the local coordinating chairman.
The UDP has called on the authorities to unconditionally release all political prisoners and initiate a thorough and full independent investigations into the circumstances surrounding Kurumah’s death.
The late Kurumah was among over 50 UDP members arrested since May 9th 2016 for showing solidarity with detained opposition party leader Ousainou Darboe and other comrades. He has since been detained and denied bail on several occasion despite his serious illness under detention. Before his demise, he was reportedly bed ridden and unable to walk.
A week ago, the opposition UDP who were providing him with food and buying medicine for him at the hospital were denied access to him.
Meanwhile, the UDP had also called on the authorities to release the remaining May 9th detainees saying they are been held ‘unlawfully, innocent and haven’t committed any crime’.
It could be recalled that since April 14th, the political tension in The Gambia had risen following the arrest of a dozen opposition members of the United Democratic Party (UDP) who were merely protesting in demand for justice and electoral reforms. They were rounded up by police and one of them named Solo Sandeng was reportedly tortured to death in state custody while others suffered severe pains and still under critical conditions.
The death of Sandeng led to another protest on April 16th, led by the leader of the party Ousainou Darboe and party executive demanding the release of Solo Sandeng, dead or alive and others ‘illegally’ detained. They were equally rounded up by police, put on trial, denied bail and finally convicted to three years imprisonment each and are currently serving their jail terms at the State Central prison of Mile II.