Yahaya Jammeh ordered massacre of 44 Ghanaians

Two years after 44 Ghanaians and 10 other ECOWAS nationals were reported killed in The Gambia, evidence is emerging that The Gambian President, Yahaya Jammeh, ordered their execution.

The Ghanaian Times newspaper, quoting Ghana Police sources, said on Thursday that the order for execution came apparently because Jammeh was made to believe that they were dissidents preparing to overthrow his regime.

“Intensive investigations by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police in The Gambia and Senegal, have established that all the victims were butchered at the command of The Gambian Head of State,” the paper said.

Still quoting top officials of the Police CID, the paper said a full report has been submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and NEPAD which requested the investigation.

At the CID head office in Accra on Wednesday, the paper learned that at least one Ghanaian survived the massacre and has given a detailed account of what happened on July 22, 2005. His name was given simply as ‘Kyere’ and he is said to be currently living in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

The Ghanaians and their colleagues, according to the police, were using The Gambia as a transit point, possibly for migration, to Europe in search of greener pastures.

Mr. Kwasi Osei Adjei, Minister of Foreign Affairs, confirmed that the report has been submitted to his office. “I will study it and take the necessary action,” he told the Times.

“I was asked about the murder of the Ghanaians during my vetting in Parliament. It is a matter of serious concern to Ghanaians that innocent countrymen could be cruelly murdered simply because they have been found in a fellow ECOWAS country,” he said.

Information linking the murders to the Gambian President began to make the rounds in The Gambia recently, when a top Gambian police officer broke ranks with the administration and went public with details of the atrocities in a report to Freedom Newspaper, Gambia’s premier online publication. He termed it “state-sponsored genocide” against “innocent Ghanaians.”

The Internet publication was reproduced by a Ghanaian newspaper, Public Agenda on Monday, July 9. It alleged that the Gambian officer, who identified himself as Sekouba Jadana, gave vivid account of how the Ghanaians and other nationals were summarily executed by state security guards and dumped in a bush.

“The debate on the issue has been going on for sometime now and I believe that it is time for the whole world to take note and prepare ways and means of bringing His Excellency, Dr Alhaji Yahaya to justice. Jammeh should face the International Criminal Court since he spearheaded the ‘Ghanaian genocide’ in the Gambia,” Jadana said in his statement.

“The Ghanaian Government should ensure that justice is seen to be done in this high-profile crime against humanity. Sincerely, I was not present when the gruesome murders of the Ghanaians took place on that fateful night in the Gambia, but I was involved in the investigations at the preliminary stages,” Jadana added.

Giving the background, Jadana alleged that President Jammeh and a host of his ministers were at a cultural jamboree in Banjul, the national capital, organised as part of activities marking the country’s independence anniversary, when a telephone call came from an official of the National Investigation Authority. It said that some West African nationals had been arrested and that their motives were to destabilise the anniversary celebrations and that there was an imminent security threat.

An order was allegedly given for their arrest with further instructions from the Head of State to deal with them. “His Excellency was advised to return to the State House immediately and walahi (swearing) he ran, and was saying deal with them! deal with them! and he was trembling while going home.”

Jadana further alleged that even though the ferry over the Gambia River had closed at the time, an order was given for it to transport the captives across the river and head towards Brufur, a town at the other side of the river.

“Our investigation team went to Brufur and discovered that the bodies were scattered all over the bushes with deep cuts from heads to eyes and broken noses.”

According to Jadana, who allegedly dispatched his findings from the Police headquarters in Banjul, there was news blackout on the discovery of the bodies. ‘The news of the brutal murders was not covered by the national radio and television at all,” he said.

President Jammeh failed to turn up in Accra for the Summit of African Heads of State and Governments held in Accra on July 1-3. Observers believe the murder of the 44 Ghanaians and other nationals was the principal reason why he failed to turn up.

Source: Ghanaian Times