TRRC recommends payment of a total US$612k to victims in the Gambian massacre

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Africa Gambia Families
Families of massacre victims, in Kumasi Ghana, April 2018. © 2018 Reed Brody/HRW

The Gambia Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) has recommended the payment of a total of $ 612,000 to some 54 West African migrants who were massacred by para-military troops in 2005.

The migrants were tortured, unlawfully imprisoned, unlawfully killed or forced to disappear by the para-military troops who were directly under the control of the then President, Yahya Jammeh.

The money is to be paid to the respective governments of the migrants’ countries who would then make the payments to the victims’ families and survivors.

These were made known at a press conference in Kumasi to present a report on the findings and recommendations by the Commission on the massacre and enforced disappearances of Ghanaians and other West African migrants.

The massacre happened in July 2005, when a group of economic migrants from West Africa, predominantly from Ghana, were told that they had to come to the Gambia to connect to a boat that would take them to Europe.

Former President Jammeh commanded a paramilitary group for the arrest, killing and disappearance of such persons with the intention that the migrants were criminals.

Mr Williams Nyarko, Coordinator, Jammeh2Justice Ghana Campaign, said the Commission observed that even if they were criminals or in any other way breached Gambia’s laws, due process ought to have been followed.

However, Yahya Jammeh and the state apparatus under his control had already made up their minds, namely to extra-judicially execute them without any regard for the law and human life.

Mr Nyarko called the successive governments of the victims’ countries to equitably share the monies to victims and families of the said incident.

Mr Martin Kyere, Survivor and Spokesperson for Survivors, commended the Commission for leading the way for justice to take its due processes.

He called on the Gambian President to increase payment fines to a tune of $15,000,000, explaining that could go a long way to help affected families to plan meaningful lives.

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