‘JAMMEH2JUSTICEGHANA” Campaign Launched: Could The Former Dictator Be Tried In Ghana?

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Yahya Jammeh

Yahya Jammeh

Gordon Offin-Amaniampong writes
The majority would perish, but one man will live to tell their harrowing story. He’d survive to fill the world’s ear with their agonising story. That had been their wish and prayer –that one day the whole world would know exactly what happened to them in a remote forest far away from their homeland. Until their story is told their souls would remain restless, they believed.

Their killers were armed to the teeth—guns and machetes drawn. They were stripped naked, some of them tied with ropes. A big bus carrying them squeaked on the pot-holed road—heading to a place unknown to them. Doom awaits them. They could smell him. Some of them had their limbs hacked off even before they could meet their final fate. A Nigerian believed to be a Muslim had his backbone cut into two as blood streamed all over. Apparently the executioners had heard him praying to God for his intervention.

BUT the vampires were on fire –no time waste. And the one destined to survive would dare the devil. He’d make the riskiest decision—to jump out from the moving vehicle. His narrow escape in the pitch-dark bush amid sporadic gunshots and the gruesome murder of his friends would shock the world. That senseless killings of 44, is believed to have been orchestrated and sanctioned by former Gambia dictator Yahya Jammeh.

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On Wednesday 16 May 2018, 13 years on, the only survivor of the July 2005 Massacre’ has given a full account of what happened in the Gambia, from a craggy path, though a deep forest to a pitch-dark valley —where he believes all or most of his colleagues were killed.

How did it start?
It all began in early 2005, about 1,041 miles(1,676 km)away from Ghana en-route to The Gambia—the West-African nation then ruled by president Yahya Jammeh. A Bono (Brong Ahafo) native Mr. Martin Kyere had his whole mind set on Europe in search for greener pasture. But that dream became abortive, Martin would find himself first in Dakar Senegal and later in Jammeh’s Gambia.

“In February 2005, over forty four (44) of us (Ghanaians) boarded a small boat in Ghana to Senegal, en route to Europe to seek greener pastures. The boat was, however, intercepted when it entered The Gambian territorial waters, and we were arrested on trumped-up charges of attempting to topple Yahya Jammeh, Mr. Kyere said.

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The information was relayed to Mr. Jammeh, who was then celebrating the bloody coup that brought him to power, without any proper investigation, the coup maker ordered his men to kill us,” he narrated.

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He said around July 2005 onboard a vessel together with other African migrants (Ghanaians, Togolese, Nigeria s etc.) they arrived at Banjul port in the Gambia. Whilst there some of them decided to go to town and get one captain. Unfortunately three of the guys were arrested after a tipster informed authorities that there were foreigners at a nearby beach.

According to Martin about 5pm they found a canoe heading their way they thought the canoe was bringing their friend s back. But it turned out to be a different story. Shortly afterwards one of the guys returned accompanied by policemen. Nobody wasted time they would soon learned that Victor had been arrested.. By 8:30 pm they were profiled and beaten. Martin said he and over 50 others with about 44 being his compatriot were subjected to merciless beatings after The Gambian military men mistook them for mercenaries.

For the first time in 13 years the survivor told his story at a news conference organised in Accra by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) to bring Yahya Jammeh, the then Gambian President who is believed to have ordered the grisly murder to Justice.

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In Accra on Wednesday victims’ families who’d made it to the launch of the “JAMMEH2JUSTICEGHANA” campaign broke down as they listened to the horrific account by Martin Kyere.

Could the former dictator be tried in Ghana?
President Yahya Jammeh, initially, denied knowledge of the crime, but after intense diplomatic pressure, admitted that his soldiers were behind it, but failed to tell the international community that he himself ordered the killings. This, development experts believe is an open door for his trial. And it appears West-African nation Ghana is making a push for what could be seen as historic trial.

Jammeh is currently in exile in the Equatorial guinea following his defeat in December1, 2016 presidential election. The dictator feared he would be made to face the ICC for human rights abuses and so decided not to hand over to his successor Baroow who he’d initially conceded defeat and promised to hand over peacefully. He ruled the Gambia for 22 years.

From: Modern Ghana

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