Seedy Njie, a former Information Minister during dictator Yahya Jammeh’s government contends that his exiled boss, has no case to answer as far as the Ghanaian case is concerned. Mr. Njie was reacting to recent news conferences held in Ghana, and in the Gambia, where rights activists have called for the extradition of dictator Jammeh from Equatorial Guinea to face justice in Ghana. It is Mr. Njie’s contention that the case in question, has been amicably settled by the two-former governments.
“Remember, when former President Jammeh was in power, there was intense negotiations and dialogue between the government of Ghana, and also the Gambia government and the United Nations and at one point in time, there was an agreement reached and the Gambia government paid compensation to through the Ghanaian government; and as far as we are concerned that matter was laid to rest by the two government plus the United Nations,” Mr. Njie, who is also the APRC spokesman told the Freedom Newspaper.
Mr. Njie briefly lived in Equatorial Guinea with dictator Jammeh before returning to his native Gambia. Njie is also a former nominated APRC Member of Parliament. He was appointed Information Minister during Gambia’s month long political impasse.
To the activists calling for Jammeh’s prosecution, Seedy Njie had this message for them: “He has no case to answer. I don’t know how people could just say that Jammeh ordered the massacre because I listened to international media yesterday; people from Ghana; some were saying that they were accused of being mercenaries; here and there. But what I can safely say is that there was diplomatic negotiations and the international community, including the United Nations, were key members of those who were negotiating. But as of now, we are monitoring the developments, as to how, and when, and where necessary, we will also seek legal opinion and advice. But I can assure you that as far as we are concerned and the former president, this is a nonevent.”
According to Seedy Njie, the present Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo, who was Ghana’s Foreign Minister at the time, was involved in the negotiations to settle the murdered Ghanaian nationals case in the Gambia. Mr. Njie said the victims’ families were also compensated monetarily by the former Jammeh government.
“As far as we are concerned, this case is a nonissue. It was amicably settled by the two former governments,” Njie posited.
Mr. Njie told the Freedom Newspaper that Jammeh had reached an agreement with the international community prior to his departure from Banjul, and according to him, one of the agreements was for Jammeh not be harassed or threatened after he left the Gambia for Equatorial Guinea.
“We know this; and a lot of smear campaign against the APRC and the former president, but we wouldn’t relent in ensuring we continue canvassing for people’s support and get back to power,” he said.
“For now, I may not want to say anything to the Ghanaian government because there is no word coming from the Ghanaian government. But I am sure that they are aware of what happened. As a former government and as a party, we cherish and value human beings; and we respect the rule of law,” Njie concluded.
Reed Brody of the Washington based Human Rights Watch has been instrumental in ensuring dictator Jammeh have his day in court.
“We recently investigated the 2005 massacre of over 50 West African migrants; these men and women; mostly from Ghana were trying to reach Europe, but ended up stranded on the Gambian coast. Jammeh’s security services warn of a potential coup; deemed the migrants to be potential mercenaries and they are arrested and brutally killed; their bodies were dumped in wells and bushes,” Brody said in a documentary video featuring a Ghanaian escapee from the 2005 massacre in the Gambia.
Human Rights Watch said it had interviewed 30 former Gambian officials, including 11 officers directly involved in the incident. Some of the officers interviewed are currently serving the new government. The revelation was made on Thursday’s press conference by Marion Volkmann, a Human Rights activist.
Martin Kyere, a Ghanaian shoe seller, was the lone survivor of the Gambian massacre.
“We asked Lamin, where are these people taking us this early; lets pray. So, we take north direction from Banjul. While we were going one Nigerian was praying Alakubarr, Alakubarr; the car stopped; the who is that? ; the man stopped; the way the man brought the cutlass and he brought him down and just cut his backbone; he just cut the man’s backbone and he was not able to do anything again; the blood was flowing everywhere,” he said.
Martin says he and the other detainees had their hands, legs and neck tied with a rope. Luckily for Martin, he managed to escape from Jammeh’s most feared assassin team called the junglers. He found his way to neighboring Casamance, Senegal, before safely returning to Ghana.
“The car was about to stop and I jumped from the pickup and I heard a noise back there; who is that?; who is that?; I did not move back; I start running harder about four to five steps; I was hide down by a rope and gunshots follows and passes over me,” he added.
Human Rights Watch says the Bulletin of the UN Department of Public Affairs said that an ECOWAS/UN report, never made public, concluded that the Gambian government was not “directly or indirectly complicit” in the deaths and disappearances but rather that “rogue elements” in Gambia’s security services “acting on their own” were probably responsible.
Marion Volkmann is a Human Rights Consultant. She works with an organization called Gambia’s Victims Center. Marion addressed a news conference in Banjul on Thursday.
“Our investigation shows that even before the panel arrived, the Gambian government destroyed the documentary evidence of the migrants on the sea; meaning the log of the Navy showing that they have traveled from Bara to Banjul; also, police records showing they have been detained in different police stations. So, not surprising may be that report then concluded that the Gambian government was not directly or indirectly complicit,” she said.
“The new evidence today shows exactly the contrary. Basically, our investigation shows consistent logging of evidence linking the president Jammeh to the killings and making him the prime suspect in that; it is therefore our hope that the Ghanaian authorities will open an investigations in that case and will eventually ask for the extradition of Yahya Jammeh,” she added.
Michael Oko Davies is the spokesman of the Ghanaian Community in the Gambia. Davies is interested in justice as far as the Ghanaian case is concerned.
“The Gambian government should now admit that they committed these atrocities and they are willing carryout the necessary investigations; identify these bodies one after the other; and then we as Ghanaians are ready to transport our corpses back to Ghana for decent burial; then we restore to them their dignity even in death,” he told reporters.
Dictator Yahya Jammeh has been in power for over twenty-three years. His rule has been marred by wanton human rights violations. Enforced disappearances, torture and killing of political opponents were common routine during his rule.
From: Freedom Newspaper