Dr Saine Chairman of CORDEG
Fourteen years ago on the 10th & 11th April 2000, security forces in The Gambia gunned down and killed 14 school children, including a 10 year old boy, a 3 year old toddler and a Red Cross volunteer and journalist Omar Barrow, who was helping to evacuate dead and wounded children. Scores more school children were also maimed, as they staged a peaceful demonstration against attacks on young people, including the unlawful killing of a school boy Ebrima Barry and the rape of a young school girl Binta Manneh by Gambian state security officers, weeks earlier.
In sombre remembrance, CORDEG salutes these brave children of the soil who on this day of infamy, fell under the murderous hail of the executioners’ bullets:-
• Abdoulie Sanyang, of Old Jeshwang died from a stampede and his death was an accident
• Bubacarr Badjie, a student, aged 10, died of gunshot wounds from a high-velocity weapon
• Wuyeh Fode Mansally, a student of Talinding Islamic Institute, died of gunshot wounds
• Momodou Lamin Njie, a GTTI student, died of gunshot wounds
• Calisco Prera, a resident of New Jeshwang, died of gunshot wounds
• Karamo Barrow, a former student of the Institute for Continuing Education, died of gunshot wounds
• Reginald Carrol, a student of La Fourmi Institute, Kanifing, died of gunshot wounds
• Omar Barrow, journalist and Gambia Red Cross volunteer, died of gunshot wounds
• Momodou Lamin Chune, student of Latrikunda Middle School, died of gunshot wounds
• Lamin A. Bojang, student of Nusrat Senior Secondary School, died of gunshot wounds
• Ousman Sabally, student of Brikamaba Upper Basic School, died of gunshot wounds
• Ousman Sembene, died of gunshot wounds
- Bakary Njie, died of gunshot wounds
- Sainey Nyabally, died of gunshot wounds
We pray that their tender souls continue to rest in eternal peace.
Impunity will never be condoned
We also remember that the coroner’s verdict is that all the deaths were caused by gunshot wounds from high velocity weapons. Some of these students are still suffering the physical trauma sustained on that murderous day.
The investigations and report of the government’s own Commission of Enquiry and the Secretary of State for Justice, also recommended that a number of named security and government officers be prosecuted for the unlawful killing of the defenceless school children and Red Cross volunteer.
However, instead of prosecutions, the president Yahya Jammeh chose to condone the unlawful killing of these children. With outrageous contempt for the human rights of innocent Gambian children, the government proceeded to institutionalise impunity by granting indemnity against prosecution to the following individuals named as responsible for the unlawful killing of the 14 school children and the Red Cross volunteer.
People named as responsible by the Commission of Enquiry:-
For the killing of the school children, the Commission of Enquiry recommended prosecution of the following;
Secretary of State for the Interior: (then) Ousman Badjie
Deputy Inspector-General of Police: (then) Sankung Badjie
Commissioner of Operations [Police]: (then) Baboucarr Sowe
Assistant Superintendent of Police: Momodou Ceesay
Police Licensing Office Personnel: Gorgi Mboob
Police Personnel: Corporal Lamin Camara
Private Lamin Camara
Private Paul Mendy
Private Alieu Kambi
For their own inhumane and inappropriate conduct [and being in command of junior officers who behaved similarly], the Commission of Enquiry recommended disciplinary action against the following;
Military Personnel: [Inhumane conduct] Lieutenant Samba Baldeh
Lieutenant Wassa Camara
Police Personnel: [Inappropriate conduct] Inspector Omar Darboe
Inspector Mandinding Fatty
As we mark 14 years without justice for the families of the innocent victims of this darkest period in the post-independence history of our country, CORDEG makes a solemn commitment to campaign vigorously for the perpetrators of this crime against humanity and their commander Yahya Jammeh, to be brought to justice, so as to finally bring closure and recompense to the parents and families of the murdered victims of this most barbaric crime.
CORDEG is calling on every Gambian at home and abroad to redouble every effort to hasten the fall of tyranny and dictatorship in the Gambia. We pledge to pursue unrelentingly the justice of this and the many other crimes committed by Yahya Jammeh and his government, against innocent Gambians.
Justice may be delayed but justice will not be denied.
Professor Abdoulaye Saine