It has been eight years since the Gambia’s veteran journalist and human rights activist Deyda Hydara was gunned down by coward assassins who continue to roam the streets with impunity! For eight years, Deyda Hydara’s colleagues, family and friends continue to ask the authorities in the Gambia to track-down his killer/s and bring them to justice. But to no avail.
The media fraternity and human rights activists worldwide continue to ask the government of the Gambia to seek international assistance in tracking Deyda’s killers but they seem reluctant to do so even though they have resorted to such measures in the past regarding criminal matters of less importance to the Gambian populace.
Deyda was gunned down yards from a police barracks on the fateful day of December 16, 2004, marking not just the anniversary of The Point newspaper’s founding but also on the anniversary of the birthday of his beloved wife. Despite the proximity of the crime scene to a police headquarters, it took the police hours to attend to the scene. And when they finally did attend, according to reports from family sources, they carried his body on the back of a pick-up vehicle with his feet dangling like that of an animal.
The Gambia government, at the time, treated the incident as any other routine criminal activity until resounding condemnation from the international community when ‘serious investigations’ were launched. The investigation was initially handled by the police, as one would expect but then suspiciously taken over by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) who, many believe were an interested party in the matter. The NIA in a subsequent report, labelled purportedly as ‘Confidential’ addressed to Deyda’s family ‘and all those interested in Deyda’s death’ tried to blame Deyda (the victim) for being responsible for his (Deyda’s) own death. The NIA have since as many believed sabotaged the investigation while Deyda’s vile killer/s continue to roam the streets of The Gambia with impunity.
On this auspicious occasion of the 8th anniversary of Deyda’s assassination, this is once again a call to the Gambian authorities to properly investigate his murder and promptly bring his killer/s to justice. If the Gambian police think they haven’t the means, they need to call in international assistance or otherwise explain to The Gambian people why they are not culpable. Adieu tonto Deyda. Gone but not forgotten!
Alieu Badara Sowe
Journalist and Human Rights Activist
Alieu Badara Sowe is a close associate and colleague of the late Deyda Hydara. They had joint stint at Radio Syd, The Point and Gambia Press Union.