Gambia massacre: How $500,000 meant to appease victims’ families was ‘misused’

General News of Friday, 18 May 2018

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

2018-05-18

play videoMina Mensah, Head of Africa Office, Commonwealth human rights initiative

Mina Mensah, head of Africa Office, Commonwealth human rights initiative has said that monies meant to compensate families of murdered Ghanaians in Gambia have been misused by the committee in charge.

According to her, families of the victims were given GHC 10,000 each out of a compensation of $500,000 paid by the government of Gambia as contribution towards the funerals of the victims.

“Strangely enough when the break-down came in it was very interesting, one Alhaji Mumuni said to parliament that GHC25,000 was used for funeral reception, GHC 11,200 was used for construction of tombs, GHC12,200 was used for the transportation of family members, GHC 1,200 was used for the purchase of schnapps, GHC7,200 for payment of coffins, GHC 400 for printing of invitation cards, GHC 2,500 for hiring of portable toilet and the National Theater and the police band were paid GHC1000 each” she said.

Madam Mensah also added that some members of Parliament were baffled that a report claimed that Government had used GHC7000 as donations at the funerals.

Background

Memories of the gruesome murder of some 44 Ghanaians in The Gambia are still fresh on the mind of Martin Kyere, the lone survivor who narrowly escaped with his life amidst the sporadic guns fired at him as he took to his heels.

Martin Kyere narrated the story of a bloody torture and massacre he and over 50 others with about 44 being his compatriot were subjected to after The Gambian military men mistook them for mercenaries.

Mr. Kyere told his story at a news conference organised in Accra by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) to bring Yahya Jammeh, the then Gambian President who is believed to have ordered the ghastly murder to Justice.

Families of the victims who were at the launch of the “JAMMEH2JUSTICEGHANA” campaign could not hold their tears as Martin Kyere narrated the heinous ordeal they experienced in Gambia.

“In February 2005, over forty four (44) of us (Ghanaians) boarded a small boat in Ghana to Senegal, en route to Europe to seek greener pastures.

The boat was, however, intercepted when it entered The Gambian territorial waters, and we were arrested on trumped-up charges of attempting to topple Yahya Jammeh.

The information was relayed to Mr. Jammeh, who was then celebrating the bloody coup that brought him to power, without any proper investigation, the coup maker ordered his men to kill us,” Mr. Kyere narrates.

According to him, “the soldiers, acting upon the instructions handcuffed and took us to a location. We were then transported into a forest before they killed my colleagues in cold blood I managed to escape to Senegal, and later returned to Ghana to break the news about the heinous crime.”

In the course of the inhumane treatment, two of the innocent Ghanaians, Martin Kyere and other managed to escape, but one of the escapees was later arrested and slashed into pieces by one of the soldiers, using a machete.

President Yahya Jammeh, initially, denied knowledge of the crime, but after intense diplomatic pressure, admitted that his soldiers were behind it, but failed to tell the international community that he himself ordered the killings.

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