Adama Barrow President of the Republic of The Gambia
Following the protests and subsequent killings of three protesters in Faraba Banta, West Coast Region, by the Gambia armed paramilitary forces, President Adama Barrow has with immediate effect commissioned an Independent Inquiry to investigate the circumstances that led to the deaths in the Faraba protests.
The membership consists of the following individuals and institutions:
- Emmanuel Joof, a renown Human rights Lawyer as the Chairperson
A representative of the Ministry of Justice
A representative of the Gambia Bar Association
A representative of the Gambia Armed Forces
A representative of the of the State Intelligence Services
A Representative of Civil society from the Association of Non-Governmental Organizations – TANGO
Taking into account the need for a speedy dispensation of justice and accountability, the Committee starts work with immediate effect and has a duration of one month to submit a comprehensive report to His Excellency, the President of the Republic.
The Inquiry has been mandated to:
- Investigate the circumstances leading to the standoff between the villagers of Faraba Bantang and the Police Intervention Unit
- Investigate the circumstances that led to the injuries and fatalities in Faraba Bantang and identify those responsible for the deaths, including those who may have ordered the firings and those who fired the shots
- Recommend measures to prevent a recurrence of the circumstances that led to the stand-off in Faraba Bantang
- Recommend measures to prevent an occurrence of the incident in Faraba Bantang and other parts of the country
Additionally, the President has given approval for the appointment of a Coroner to investigate the cause of the deaths as per the Coroners Act, Cap 7.04, Vol. 2 Laws of The Gambia. The Coroner will work with a pathologist to establish the facts before the corpses are released to their families.
This is a welcome news that will reassure the victims and their families of justice. The chairman of the commission is a well respected amongst his peers and hopefully, the commission will leave no stone unturned so that it will serve as a lesson to avoid a repeat of such heinous crimes.
Wounded protester from Faraba Banta
The peace and tranquillity the Gambia is known for is once again threatened with the violence scenes and the killing of three (3) protesters and wounding of dozens more in Faraba Bantang Village, West Coast Region on Monday 18 June 2018. The two protesters were shot dead when police opened fire on them which resulted in the deaths of Bakary Kujabi, aka Seffo, and Ismaila Bah and the third person died from his wounds at the hospital.
The incident occurred in the wake of refusal by villagers to accept ‘Julakay’ Company mining sand in their lands before the National Assembly’s Select Committee complete their investigations and make final recommendations to Government. Faraba residents who indicated that the National Assembly Select Committee on the Environment who visited them less than two weeks ago, did not complete their investigations and final report to Government. To the surprised of the residence, the company ’Julakay’ however, proceeded to advertised and re- commence sand mining in Faraba.
Meanwhile, the failure of Barrow ’s government to foresee this problem before it arrives is pure ineptitude and perhaps lack of leadership. We have seen what happened in Farato, Kanilai, Wuli, Busumbala and Gunjur as a result government should have foreseen this problem coming and follow the recommendations of the National Assembly Select Committee on Environment which basically is to stop the company from mining until a settlement is reached.
The main reason why Gambia-ns has decided to vote out Yahya Jammeh was his repression and killings of people and if Barrow should oversee a government that repeat the same killings we will immediately get him out and put someone who is capable of leading Gambians without killing them. In moments of crisis people look up to their leaders for reassurance, care and leadership, however, since Barrow took over, he has always been hiding in moments like this. It is all well and good for Barrow to delegate responsibility, but you don’t delegate in an emergency you take ownership and lead by example, which he still failed to do.
As promised, Gambians want swift actions not only against the arrested PIU officers but the company Julakay as well as the head of Police and the Interior Minister. Because this is a failure of leadership and all those people have failed in their duties of care to the people they are to protect as well as to follow the orders of the NA Select Committee. Since the incident, both the Inspector General of Police and the Interior Minister were playing the blame game and if they are not ready to take responsibility and resign, then Barrow should fire them both or Barrow himself gets fired. Because it’s under their watch three innocent lives were lost