No justice for slain West African migrants

Former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh

from RUSSELL ADADEVOH in Accra, Ghana
ACCRA, (CAJ News) – THE families of more than 50 West African nationals killed in Gambia and Senegal 15 years ago are still demanding justice.

There is growing evidence Gambian security force members carried out the murders acting on the orders of then-president, Yahya Jammeh.

Almost all the migrants, including about 44 Ghanaians, nine Nigerians, two Togolese, and nationals of Ivory Coast and Senegal, plus one Gambian, were killed in Gambia or taken across the border into Senegal and shot and their bodies dumped in wells.

Gambia security forces arrested the Europe-bound migrants on July 22, 2005, on suspicion of involvement in a coup attempt.

Their boat had landed in Gambia.

Several Gambian soldiers have confessed to the murders and said they acted on Jammeh’s orders.

Human rights groups this week reiterated calls for an international investigation of the massacre.

“A credible international investigation is needed if we’re ever going to get to the bottom of the massacre of West African migrants and create the conditions to bring those responsible to justice,” said Emeline Escafit, legal adviser at TRIAL International.

In 2008, a joint investigative team by the United Nations and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) concluded that Gambia was not in the deaths and disappearances, blaming it on rogue elements in Gambia’s security services acting on their own.

Jammeh, the primary suspect, is now exiled in Equatorial Guinea.

Allegations of rape and conducting a fake HIV / AIDS healing scheme have trailed his departure from power after an election whose results he initially rejected in 2017.

– CAJ News

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