Today marks 17 years since 10 & 11 April 2000 student massacre in the Gambia by the then Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh. For the first time since the massacre, this event is being commemorated on the Gambian soil. The event is to mourn, commemorate and pray for the departed heroes and those that were maimed and tortured. Today’s event gives a chance to the families and friends of those that were killed to properly mourn for their departed ones and those that were tortured and maimed to find a solace for once.
The only crime we had committed in these fateful days was to demand the government to investigate and bring to book those who killed a student Ebrima Barry of Brikama and raped a girl student from Brikama-Ba at the independent stadium in Bakau. However, owing to his reputation, the then Jammeh’s administration was a repressive regime that finds any form of protest as a threat to his grip on power. As a consequence, Jammeh found it necessary to unleash hell on unarm and defenceless students, which killed 14 innocent students, including a red cross member and a 3 year old toddler.
Meanwhile, while the chief architect of the massacre Yahya Jammeh lives in a relative comfort in exile in Equatorial Guinea and his mercenaries continue to roam our streets while we continue to bear the brunt of his cruelty. It is only fair for there to be “Truth and Justice” before “Reconciliation” just as some of the banners in today’s event read. We, therefore, call on the Barrow’s administration to open an inquiry, investigate and bring to book those who are responsible for the heartless killings and maiming of innocent students so as to find closure for the families and friends of the victims.
It has been said, Time brings perspective. Time eases the pain. Time heals the heart. Time revives hope. It’s time to finally bring to an end our sufferings for us to learn to embrace life again.