Gambia Launches Truth Commission Into Ex-Dictator's Abuse – African News Network | Latest African News | Nigerian News | Breaking News
Connect with us

African News

Gambia Launches Truth Commission Into Ex-Dictator’s Abuse

Published

on

Gambia Launches Truth Commission Into Ex-Dictator's Abuse

The tiny west African state of The Gambia on Monday swore in an 11-member commission tasked with shedding light on summary executions, disappearances, torture, rape and other crimes under ousted dictator Yahya Jammeh.

President Adama Barrow hailed the panel as a vital step towards national healing.

In a tweet, he said: “Let us stand together to say: ‘Never again shall a few people oppress us as a nation. Never again shall the beautiful Smiling Coast experience a tyranny of the minority against the majority’.”

Inspired by South Africa’s investigation into the apartheid era, the commission will hold witness hearings into Jammeh’s 22-year era of oppression.

The goal is to open the way to prosecuting those responsible and offering victims and their relatives the hope of closure.

“Gambians who were tortured or raped in prison, who were shot for peacefully demonstrating, who were forced into Jammeh’s phony HIV ‘treatment’ programmes, whose family members were killed or who were targeted in literal witch hunts will all be able to come forward,” said Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

READ:  Schools Shut Down In Nasarawa

“We know so much more today about the crimes of Jammeh’s government than we did a year ago — and when the truth commission is finished hearing from all the victims we should have a complete picture.”

The two-year process, he hoped, marked the first step to “holding Yahya Jammeh and his henchmen to account.”

Jammeh took over The Gambia, the smallest country on land in Africa, in a military coup in 1994.

He installed a structure of oppression and corruption that touched nearly every part of society.

Dissidents and journalists were picked up and tortured by the dreaded National Intelligence Agency (NIA). An ultra-loyal death squad called the Junglers carried out summary killings, including the alleged murder of scores of West African migrants.

Exile

Jammeh’s reign began to crumble in December 2016, when he dramatically lost elections to Barrow, the opposition’s leader.

READ:  In Fractured Mali, Dance Contest Offers A Sense Of Unity

He refused to step down, but was forced out the following month after other West African countries intervened militarily and diplomatically. He flew into self-imposed exile in Equatorial Guinea.

Created under an act of parliament, the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) aims at using openness and a court-like approach to investigate over two years how abuse began and became systemic and the impacts it had.

Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou, a former UN court prosecutor on human rights in Rwanda, said the TRRC would be a bulwark against any future dictators.

“Our nation may be small, we may be poor, but we have one tremendous resource, the illustrious sons and daughters of this country,” he said.

The commission will be empowered to advise prosecution of perpetrators and recommend financial compensation to victims.

Its members are drawn from all the major regions, its five main ethnic groups and two religions, led by a retired UN diplomat, Lamin Sise.

Gender-based violence is expected to be a major theme of its mission, and four of the commissioners are women, on of whom is Sise’s deputy chair.

READ:  Zimbabwe Elections: Mnangagwa "Won't Win First Round Vote" - Survey

Shadow of Jammeh

The Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations, an NGO set up by victims and relatives of victims, says it has already documented hundreds of cases.

But the full extent of abuse may never be known and whether Jammeh himself will be put in the dock is far from clear.

Barrow has said that any decision to bring Jammeh to justice would wait until the TRRC has completed its work.

But Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema – who has governed his country with an iron fist since 1979 – has ruled out any demand for extradition.

“Jammeh must be protected… (as) a guarantee for other African leaders that they will not be harassed after they leave power,” he said in January this year.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

African News

Zimbabwe: Government, Civil Servants Agree Salary Deal

Published

on

By

Zimbabwe: Government, Civil Servants Agree Salary Deal

Zimbabwe government and civil servants have finally agreed to a salary accord after the government increased its offer to four hundred million dollars, up by fifty million.

READ:  Ivory Coast Accepts To Host 2023 AFCON

This means government workers and civil servants will each receive an increment of a hundred twenty-nine dollars effective on April the first.

Negotiations for a further salary review, possibly in June, will continue with consideration of other non-monetary incentives.

READ:  Two Police Killed In Restive Anglophone Cameroon

Apex council chairperson, Cecilia Alexander, says the welfare negotiations will continue until the welfare of civil servants improved.

Continue Reading

African News

Niger’s Top Court Outlaws ‘Fifth Wife’ Sex-Slave Maids

Published

on

By

Niger's Top Court Outlaws 'Fifth Wife' Sex-Slave Maids

Niger’s top court has outlawed the practice of keeping women as maids and sex slaves known as “fifth wives.”  This ends a decade-long legal battle by one victim that lawyers say could inspire others in the West African nation to seek justice.

READ:  Ex-Ivory Coast Leader On Trial At ICC, Named Head Of Party's Dissident Wing

UK-based anti-slavery international, says the “fifth wife” custom, also known as “wahaya,” is when, in addition to the four wives permitted by Islam, rich men take on other, unofficial wives who live as domestic and sexual slaves.

READ:  Afghan Peace Marchers Say "Everyone Is Tired Of War"

Thomson-Reuters Foundation says a Nigerien court had initially ruled in favor of the victim’s master, but she appealed the decision.  Last month, the Niger court of appeals ruled that her first marriage was never valid and that all “fifth wife” marriages are illegal.

READ:  Thousands Of Algerians Protest Against Bouteflika Fifth Term Bid

Continue Reading

African News

Gunmen Abduct Student Football Team In Cameroon

Published

on

By

Gunmen Abduct Student Football Team In Cameroon

Gunmen have abducted twenty University of Buea male football team members in Cameroon’s southwest. A report says university Vice-Chancellor, Ngono Horace Manga, has confirmed the incident.

READ:  DRC's Kabila In Talks On Successor Ahead Of Election Deadline

The Vice-Chancellor is quoted as saying armed men stormed the university’s football ground and ordered the players who were training for an upcoming competition to leave with them.

READ:  International Albinism Awareness Day: Cancer, Not Discrimination, Threatens Namibian Albinos

Manga also said the kidnappers contacted university authorities and demanded a ransom.  He did not disclose the amount for which they were asking.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

READ:  Ivory Coast Accepts To Host 2023 AFCON

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe to ANN News Alert

Be the first to receive the latest news from Africa and around the world.

%d bloggers like this: