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Massacre of migrants in Gambia: the only known survivor came to claim justice

Martin Kyere, a 38-year-old Ghanaian, is the only known survivor of a massacre of migrants committed by the squads of the dictator Yahya Jammeh's death in the Gambia in July 2005. For the first time, on October 27, Martin Kyere returned in Gambia. Supported by an NGO collective, he wants to share his story, hoping, one day, to obtain justice.

The emotion is very strong when Martin Kyere sees for the first time the wife of a Gambian victim with whom he was detained. Looking into the void, he is immersed in his memories. “I can not say I’m very happy to be here,” he says. To come, I was ironed by Barra. This is the second time I make this route. It’s a painful moment.

Arrested on the north bank of the Gambia in July 2005, the group of 56 migrants including Martin Kyere is imprisoned in the capital Banjul, suspected of wanting to overthrow the regime. A week later, the “Junglers”, the squads of the death of the dictator Yahya Jammeh, take them in the middle of the night to the village of Kanilai. They realize then what awaits them.

“Everyone was crying and asking for help,” he says. I managed to untie my hands, and jumped from the pickup in the forest. Then I heard cries coming from the pickup: “Oh God save us!”, Then shots [he mimics the shots]. They killed them and then returned to Banjul. ”

Judicial battle

After being close to death, Martin Kyere now devotes his life to seeking justice. For this, he is supported by several NGOs who want to see Yahya Jammeh one day in court.

“Knowing that Yahya Jammeh is in Equatorial Guinea, and that the Gambian authorities consider that they are not ready, our tactic is to see if Ghana would not be interested in investigating and possibly suing Yahya Jammeh,” says Reed Brody. , legal adviser for the NGO Human Rights Watch. This first trial would not prevent the Gambia later to judge its former president.

Back to the facts

In July 2005, more than fifty West African migrants – Nigerian, Senegalese, Ivorian and around 44 Ghanaian – on their way to Europe were murdered in the Gambia in troubled circumstances. The news makes a lot of noise in Ghana, but the Gambian head of state, Yahya Jammeh manages to smother the case. Thirteen years later, a group of Ghanaian human rights organizations and families of victims call on the Ghanaian government to open an investigation based on new evidence. He calls for the launching of charges against the former Gambian head of state – now in exile in Equatorial Guinea – for his involvement in these enforced disappearances. Back on this massacre of innocents, ordered by the former president Yahya Jammeh. Massacre that says a lot about his 22 years of regime.

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