By Mustapha Jallow
The widow of late Haruna Jatta, 40-year-old Rohey Jatta, in grief and sadness, expressed dissatisfaction with the way and manner the government is handling the investigation of her late husband’s death and has threatened to sue them if they fail in their investigation.
She was speaking at the prayer and thanksgiving held in his home village at Kanilai yesterday, 3 June 2018, to mark the first anniversary of his death on 3rd June 2017 after he was gunned down by a live bullet during a demonstration which took place the previous day. In attendance were family members, two members of the National Assembly, friends, elders and others from the Diaspora who came all the way to offer prayers to the family.
She said Jatta left an 8 years old boy Ansumana Jatta who is going to grade 1.
“The saddest thing is that no official from the government has contacted us or come to pay their condolences to the family. I really feel betrayed by the state to consider me as a woman and citizen of this country. I therefore urge the government to investigate and if they fail to do so we will look for a court of justice to book those responsible,” she urged.
The woman couldn’t complete speaking as her eyes were turning red. “They took my partner and friend away. Everywhere I moved around Kanilai there are reminders of him because we had a happy life and become stabbed in the heart every time I reflect those moments,’’ she said.
Solemnity ruled the atmosphere as sorrow and grief gripped those in attendance some of whom could not hold their tears back; some sobbed while others wept. The wife, who appeared stunned as if the incident had just occurred gazed in silence. Her red eyes could not hide the pain that seemed to be piercing her heart as she reflected on her husband’s death.
Nothing looked old, everything seemed to be fresh, as if Haruna Jatta had just been shot. You can read it from the faces of those in attendance. Men, women, the young and the old, all expressed grief and frustration. The non-attendance of a government left another impression in their minds; it simply strengthened their belief that the government doesn’t care about them.
Most of the speakers are not convinced that the investigation into the matter is taken seriously. They recalled the talk of rubber bullets killing Haruna Jatta which they say is meant to hide the truth.
According to the National Assembly Member for Foni Kansala, Hon. Musa Amul Nyassi, even at the National Assembly the parliamentarians were equally concerned about the death. “Haruna’s death was the responsibility of the state and the state has the responsibility to protect life and property but they couldn’t protect the life of Jatta who was shot in a peaceful demonstration,’’ he said.
Hon. Nyassi promised his people that he will continue to pursue the matter with the authorities until they come up with a tangible report about Jatta. He said the justice minister disclosed that there is a joint investigation between Senegalese and Gambia forces.
“Every year we will converge to commemorate the death of Jatta,’’ he said. “An account was opened for the wife and son of Jatta. We are not alone because we are really having support from the people of the Diaspora,’’ he stated.
In conclusion, he prayed for Jatta’s soul to rest in eternal peace.
Alamah Gibba, a lecturer and youth activist said that they are not enemies of the government but felt they have been targeted and isolated; adding that they even had a face to face meeting with the then interior minister, Mai Fatty when their people were arrested and shot at but, he said, it was an unsuccessful discussion as the government was not ready for dialogue. He explained that a report was written and sent to the office of the president for their demands to put forward but since then no message was received from them.
Alhagie Sankung Jammeh NAM of Foni Jarrol, Kanilai Alkalo, imams and other youth spoke about killing of Haruna and also offered prayers to the family.