Participants at the symposium

By Awa Touray       

The 10th April 2000 student demonstration that saw the massacre of 14 students by Gambian armed security men, was yesterday commemorated.

Victims and activists together with students from different Schools, gathered yesterday Wednesday 10 April 2019, and protested for Justice to prevail for all victims involved.

According to the protesters, the 10 April 2000 student protest came as a result of two unfortunate incidents that occurred at the time; that one was a senior secondary school student who was beaten to death by personnel of the Gambia Fires services, whilst the other one was the rape of a 13 year old girl by an officer of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU).

The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) in partnership with Brufut Marathon Association (BMR) and TANGO, organized this years’ symposium which was preceded by a march pass from the GTTI to the Youth monument at Westfield, as some of the activities to commemorate the unfortunate event.

Aji Yassin Jobe, a mother of two Victims namely Njaga Jagne and Assan Suwareh said the day reminds her a lot; that it was the saddest day in life, she will never forget. She narrated that she heard people saying students were shot by security personnel; that when she heard the information, she was devastated and shocked, thinking of her children.

She said at that time, mobile phones were not many in the country, but she had one and people were rushing to her to contact their children, but she just sat at one place and could not eat nor drink water until 5:00pm; that she later received a phone call that her son Assan was shot and taken to the mortuary, but she later realized that he was not dead, but sustained injury due to gunshot.

She said after the incident, victims were promised by Government that they would abroad for treatment, but later they took them to Egypt for only one month. She said her other son Njaga Jagne was shot dead. Yassin urges Government to support them because her family has gone through a lot of difficulties.

Abdoukarim Jammeh, another victim, said lot of promises have been made to them but nothing has materialized up to now. He said life for him is difficult; that it was unfortunate that he did not finish his educational career, and has not been provided with any job opportunities including all his fellow victims; that they feel they are isolated by the authorities. Jammeh said they are indirect beggars because they cannot afford the resources to take care of their need.  He urges Government to take care of the victims most especially, their health needs.

Mustapha Kah, a TRRC Commissioner, spoke on behalf of the Commission at the gathering. Kah said the Commission is very concerned about the victims; that they will do everything for young people, and they will continue to stand by the victims and give them the maximum support they need.

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