Newswire : Lawyers building case against Gambian ex-President over mass killing of refugees

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Martin Kyere, sole survivor of massacre of Ghanan refugees

May 28, 2018 (GIN) – Strong evidence has been gathered linking the former president of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, to the murder of 44 West African migrants mostly from Ghana by operatives of the ex-president.

The sole survivor of the mass killing, also from Ghana, promised himself not to rest until Mr Jammeh was brought to justice. ”It is my mission, on behalf of my friends, we want justice,” Martin Kyere, now age 37, told the BBC.

Kyere was selling shoes in Ghana and the Ivory Coast when he decided to use his savings to travel to Senegal and then to Europe. His plan fell apart when the boat used by migrants ran out of fuel and beached in the Gambia. The group was arrested, detained for a week in Banjul and beaten.

“We asked the officers why we were there, they just said the orders came from above. For a long time we thought we would just be deported.”

But the migrants were handed over to paramilitaries whose torture and killings had helped keep Mr Jammeh in power since July 1994. They were driven to a desolate area and killed brutally. Kyere jumped out of the truck and was saved.

Thirteen years later and now living in his native Ghana, Kyere is the key witness in an international effort to bring The Gambia’s former president to trial for what was probably the single largest mass killing during his 22 years in power.

”We are presenting evidence that approximately 44 Ghanaian citizens were killed by a death squad that took its orders from Jammeh,” said Reed Brody, legal counsel for Human Rights Watch, which is supporting Mr Kyere’s campaign along with Trial International.

“We have been able to interview 30 former officials, 11 of whom were directly involved, and it is clear that the migrants were not killed by rogue elements – as claimed by a previous investigation – but by the ‘junglers’ who took their orders directly from Jammeh.”

Mr Jammeh has lived in Equatorial Guinea since January 2017 since losing his re-election bid to Adama Barrow.

The Gambia has returned six bodies to Ghana, and paid $500,000 to cover burial and other costs. Most of the remaining bodies have never been found.

If Mr Kyere’s case is heard in Ghana this would embolden over 1,000 of the Jammeh regime’s victims in to seek justice, Brody said

New Peace and Justice group to launch African Liberation Day May 25

 

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M. Lamin Saidykha

(TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN) – The former head of Greenpeace Africa took the opportunity of the climate march in Washington last weekend to announce that “Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity”- a new Africa-wide social movement focused on climate change – will be officially launched on African Liberation Day – May 25.
“It’s a terrible injustice that even though we the people of Africa collectively contributed the least to emissions, we are the ones that are paying the first and most brutal price,” said Kumi Naidoo, adding “we’ve got climate refugees, land that’s drying up, water sources that are disappearing and so on, which is already creating a quite a catastrophic situation.”
“We feel extremely hurt that the countries that carry the biggest responsibility continue to deny their responsibility, but also deny the very fact that the science is absolutely clear that we have to get off dirty energy,” he said in an interview with the news show Democracy Now.
Some 200,000 took part in the DC event, which included spontaneous music and informal speeches. The new group lists “Actions & Events” on their webpage for May 25.
“We chose that day so that we can remind ourselves, our leaders and the world that we are tired of waiting for that liberation to be delivered. And to show them that we are prepared to take action and hold political and business leaders accountable and reinvigorate the journey to that better life for all.”
It continues: “We are one of the youngest continents in terms of our demographic profile but we have some of the oldest leaders. If political leaders were honest with themselves many would acknowledge that they’ve been in power for far too long. They’ve run out of fresh ideas. We need to make way for younger people who have new perspectives on the problems facing the world.
Africans Rising is about deepening solidarity across the continent. We must step up and be the first to speak out against human rights violations.
The group’s coordinator is Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan, a 32-year-old Gambian human rights activist who organized widespread protests leading to the resignation of former Gambian head of state Yahya Jammeh..
The Kilimanjaro Declaration, the movement’s founding charter, the Kilimanjaro Declaration, reads: “Africa is a rich continent. That wealth belongs to all our People, not to a narrow political and economic elite. We need to fight for economic development that is just and embraces social inclusion and environmental care. We have a right to the ‘better life’ our governments have promised.”
For more information, visit the webpage at http://www.africans-rising.org/
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