By Nelson Manneh
Abdoukarim Jammeh, one of the survivors of the April 10th and 11th students’ uprising, recollects how he and his colleagues were shot by Police Intervention Unit (PIU) personnel, when they took to the streets nineteen years ago.
Jammeh said some students were shot dead simply because they were calling for justice over the rape and alleged murder of their colleague.
He said one Ebrima Barry was tortured by personnel of the Fire and Ambulance Service. According to Jammeh, the deceased was forced to eat cement by the officers which led to his demise; that the second person whose right was violated was a Schoolgirl (name withheld). He adduced that the said School girl was raped by personnel of the PIU.
Jammeh said when these two incidents occurred, GAMSU, the then Students’ Union, wrote a letter to the Authorities asking for justice to be delivered, but there was no response. “Then the student body wrote other letters to different S,chools for them to come out on the 10th of April 2000 and hold a march pass from the Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI) to Banjul, as they wanted to address the then Vice President,” he said; that as they gathered at the GTTI to hold the procession, Security Officers met them there and beat them up.
“They came with their guns and bullets and they shot at us. Fourteen students were killed and many sustained injuries,” he said; that these two days are significant because they marked the saddest days in the history of students of the Gambia and the whole country at large, because School going children were shot and killed by officers who were supposed to protect them.
He said the events of April 10 and 11 should not be forgotten; that the country should commemorate the day and pray for the departed souls; that following the change of Government in 2017, they came together and commemorated the day openly for the first time. “In the previous years, we used to celebrate it, but not openly,” he noted. He said this year’s celebration will be commemorated in the form of a march pass from GTTI to Westfield, and on the following day, there will be a symposium where they will be discussing the issue of the victims.
Jammeh said they are calling on all Gambians to come out and support them, and that the victims call on the Barrow Government to come to their aid.