EYEAFRICA TV: BANJUL, The Gambia: A former youth activist and Gambia College student, Alagie Nyabally, Tuesday appeared before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), testifying that they immediately acted on a secondary information that Ebrima Barry was inhumanly treated by the police that led to his death.
Mr. Nyabally, who was one of the Gambia Student Union members during the April 10 and 11, 2000 student demonstrations said on April 10, a colleague named Babucarr Ann informed them that Ebrima had died due to inhuman treatment by fire officers.
“He told us that Ebrima was asked to carry bags of cement from on point to another. The second information we got was that Ebrima was asked to eat the cement and consequently he couldn’t stand the pain and that leads to his death,” he said.
He said they acted based on the information they received and that was what led to their demonstration to demand for justice for Ebrima’s death.
The nationwide April 10 and 11 student protests were called following two separate incidents – the beating to death of secondary school student Ebrima Barry by firefighters, and the rape of a 13-year-old girl by a uniformed police officer – and the lack of investigation of both of those incidents.
“We took the secondary story to be the crystal truth that Ebrima died because of the torture and inhuman treatment that was meted on him by the service men. We tried many efforts to solve the matter in a civilized manner, including holding meetings with the Students’ Union, but unfortunately the situation could not be resolve,” he said.
Despite the firing of live ammunition on the protesters after government buildings had been damaged, no one was ever held accountable for any crime. Exile former President Yahya Jammeh’s government suppressed any form commemoration of the event. The government of Adama Barrow has since coming into power promised to investigate the shooting.
A native of Bansang Misira in Central River Region and now residing in Spain, Mr Nyabally said they wanted to issue a press release to inform the general students that the demonstration was cancelled, because they wanted to meet the vice president to discuss the matter with her but that was too late.
“It was surprising to hear a press release from the interior minister Ousman Badjie on GRTS that he heard that students were going out for a demonstration but they are not going to compromise with the security of the country.”
Mr. Nyabally described the April 10 and 11 incidents as two of the darkest days in The Gambia because the events led to the death of fourteen people and lifetime injuries on several others.