By Rtd. Lt. Binneh S. Minteh
Who Are Responsible For The Summary Executions of Officers & Men of The Gambian Armed Forces? PART I
The events of November 11th 1994 marked the beginning of a gloomy era in the annals of Gambian history. But what does that break mean? In a conventional approach to international affairs, war took place among nations. But on the sad day of November 11th 1994, very poor, uneducated and half baked high school graduates challenged surprised and summarily executed gallant sons of The Gambia. Their execution showed an awful form of violence and to assess that faithful day’s state of affairs, several questions are necessary. Who carried out the executions? What justifies the summary execution of those gallant sons?
Of all the potential manifestations of innocence on the part of the AFPRC military junta that carried out the summary executions, a review of the standard bodies of evidence appealed in supporting the fact that members of the Armed Forces Patriotic Revolutionary Council ordered the summary executions of the officers and men of the Gambian armed forces on the sad day of November 11th 1994. For the presentation before any legal institution, these evidences can be divided into four interrelated sets of arguments for any legal proceedings. They could be presented as follows: the presence of council members at Yundum Army Barracks; their assembling of soldiers, the threatening by Edward Singhateh and his firing of a shot; the arresting of Lieutenant Bassiru Barrow and others, the attack on Fajara Barracks in the wee hours of the night where Lieutenant Abdoulie Dot Faal and others were executed and finally the executions at either the Nyambai forest and the Yundum Barracks or both. These are the principal ways in which the military junta fully participated in the summary executions and torture of innocent Gambian citizens.
As a victim who survived the ordeal of November 11th 1994, the new global order warrants my exposition of all such atrocities for the consumption of transnational civil society. It is not out of revenge, jealousy or contempt but a simple notion of truth and reconciliation. Societies, communities and people go through transformations in different ways and history has always taught us that most transformations could be rough and long. In the process, it is therefore important for public officials to be held accountable and take full responsibility for their actions. Events of November 11th 1994 must also be fully accounted for.
No one can therefore deny the fact that the likes of President Yaya Jammeh, SOS Edward Singhateh, SOS Yankuba Touray, former vice chairman Sana Sabally, SOS Babucarr Jatta, owe an explanation to not only the Gambia and her people, but to the civilized international community. They must understand that the authority of states are declining and “their command over outcome is not what it used to be” (Susan Strange, 1). The issue of human rights has robustly transformed the international community and international human rights laws are rapidly gaining ground. Immunity should not be the umbrella to hide under as the question of immunity has become a heated debate in the international arena. It is also becoming a norm of the 21st century for heads of governments and senior government officials be stripped of immunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In remembering November 11th 1994 I urge all Gambians and friends of the Gambia to pay a one minute silence in prayer for the following gallant sons who were cold bloodedly murdered by the regime of President Yaya Jammeh.
1. Lieutenant Bassiru Barrow
2. Lieutenant Abdoulie Dot Faal
3. Lieutenant Gibril Seye
4. Second Lieutenant Bakary Manneh
5. Second Lieutenant Buba Jammeh
6. Second Lieutenant Momodou Lamin Darboe.
7. Officer-Cadet Sillah.
8. Warrant- Officer Nyang.
9. Cpl Bassiru Camara and many others rank and files.
May their souls rest in perfect and eternal peace.
To the families of the above victims and to all peace loving Gambians, let us keep hope alive and continue praying for our lost loved ones. Events in this 21st century should be a lesson to all that tyrants and dictators can no longer escape the radar of transnational justice. In conclusion, it is my contention that the five ruling members of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (Retired Colonel Yaya Jammeh, Retired captain Sana Sabally, Retired Captain Edward Singhateh, Retired Captain Yankuba Ouray, Deceased Retired Captain Sadibou Hydara) are fully responsible for the summary executions of November 11th 1994.
MAY GOD BLESS THE CIVILIZED INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AND DOWN WITH ALL DICTATORS AND TYRANTS IN THE WORLD.
This article was first published by thegambiaecho.com in nov 2006.