EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Father of a student who was killed in the April 10 and 11 2000 student demonstration has pointed an accusing finger on Gambian former President Yahya Jammeh of being responsible for the killing of at least fifteen people in student demonstration.
Abdoulie H Bojang told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission how heartbroken and depressed he and his wife felt when their son was killed in the incident.
Testifying before the truth-seeking Commission at its public hearing in Jambur, in connection with the student protest that led to the killing of at least fifteen people by uniform men, Mr. Bojang said his first son Lamin A Bojang was shot.
The April 2000 student massacre was the killing of 14 people, and one accidental death by police officers and soldiers on April 10 and 11 at a student protest.
The protest had been 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.
A native of Jambur in Kombo South, Mr Bojang said he and her wife were returning from a trek in the provinces when they heard a BBC report by the present information minister Ebrima Sillah that the student’s demonstration was above expectations with some of them shot to death while some were badly injured.
He said he later called his family and the information he got from them was the same as the news he heard from Ebrima Sillah on the BBC news. “I came to know that my son is a victim of the incident when I went to the hospital,” he said.
Despite firing live ammunition into the protesters after government buildings had been damaged, no charges have been brought against those involved, and Yahya Jammeh government suppressed commemoration of the event.
Adama Barrow’s government has since promised to investigate the shooting.
Mr. Bojang said he went to the hospital on April 11 with a camera and a silver bangle that his son requested him to buy for him but when he arrived there, he met one Dr Ceesay who told him that his son was not alive.
He said he went to see his son’s dead body and found that he was shot on the head near the right ear with his head wrapped in a black plastic bag. He said he then put the bangle on his son’s hand and stopped crying.
Mr. Bojang told the Commission that while they were at the hospital, he took the names of all those who died in the April 10 incident and their parents, saying he took that for reference because he knew there will be a day like today.
He said he later organized a meeting with parents of other victims in a target to access a lawyer to look into the mater and ensure justice for them, but he later backed out after seeing strange faces among them who, he said maybe the then NIAs.
According to him, all the victims who were killed in the incident were teenagers, saying his son was 17 years and six months.
Story written by Amie Faye and Isatou S Tamba