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.