By Mamadou Dem
The people of the Lower River Region are of the view that the current government in collaboration with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice should appoint people with integrity to run the affairs of the TRRC. Seedy Jobe, a native of Jarra Karantaba disclosed that he was dismissed from his position as Senior Plumber at the national electricity company, NAWEC.
“After I was dismissed from my work, I was arrested, tortured and imprisoned without committing any crime.” I therefore appealed to the government to appoint honest, God fearing and transparent persons, to preside over the commission,” Mr. Jobe said.
“The perpetrators are still within the system because I see them daily. The commission should be established to avoid further brutality on citizens,” he recommended. Mr. Jobe however, called on the people of Jarra and Kiang, to forgive each other as they are all one people from different backgrounds.
Lamin Saidykhan, a native of Buiba Village, revealed that the late Deyda Hydra, founder and publisher of The Point Newspaper was his colleague at work. “My Evidence to the Commission if established, would be ‘The Point’ newspaper,” he reacted.
Mr. Kassim Fadera of Kiang Nema alleges that he was whisked away by the NIA who came for him at 2am. Mr. Fadera explained his unlawful detention and torture and also said he will testify any time the Commission starts sitting.
Isatou Fatty, former wife to former APRC NAM of Kiang West, the late Mahawa Cham, explained that his husband disappeared year ago but that the family later received information that he was dead. “I am pleased to see these types of efforts by the government. However I’m appealing for the government to appoint honest and truthful people in the commission. We have great hopes on this government because we are optimistic that they would find solutions to our problems,” she said.
She finally disclosed that her late husband was married to two wives and has children. “It’s painful but we try to bear the pain and leave everything in the hands of the Almighty,” she concluded.
Ousman Colly, Imam of Dumboto village implored on his people to forgive each other for what had happened but was quick to add that the law should take its course as no one it. “Alkalos and Sefos should return land they grabbed from the people and apologize,’’ he satated.
Alhagie Demba Sanyang, Chief of Kiang Central, suggested for the commission to be decentralized for accessibility because some of the victims or witnesses may not be in the position to provide transport fares to Banjul.
On the issue of rule of law, he said they are hopeful government will have respect for democracy, good governance and the rule of law respectively. Mr. Kajally Fofana, national assembly member for Jarra West Constituency urged the people of the region to be attentive and do away with ego.
According to him during the NADD By-elections nine people working under the former governor were dismissed and their matter is still ongoing in the courts while others have died.
Human Rights Violations during Elections: The NAM member alleged that in 2011 Presidential Elections, 24 people were detained in Soma including a lactating mother and they did not participate in the voting process. “I urge you all to exercise patience as the truth shall come to light,” he warned.
Mr. Seedy Manneh of the said region also intimated that he was a soldier under the former regime but now works with the National Broadcaster. He adduced that he was arrested and tried by a court martial in the army together with sixteen others, out of which nine died. Mr. Bakary Cham also revealed that he was arrested during Darboe and co trial, tortured and whisk away to Jangjanbureh prisons for two months without charge.
Observations: It has been observed in all the regions visited by the Minister and his delegates that the people of Lower River Region, seem to be more concerned and angry with the ill doings by the former regime and his allies. They emphasized to the Commission delegation that the perpetrators must not be allowed to go free. However, Minister Tambadou tried to put the message across by assuring them that all information gathered in all the regions, will be blended with that of the Ministry’s own for a standard Commission to be setup.
Delivering the closing remarks, state counsel Aji Adam Ceesay used the occasion to inform the people that the Commission is not witch hunting anyone; that anything they are doing will be based on facts for the development of this country. “We do not want anything that would bring setbacks in our country,” she concluded.
Mrs. Fanta Bojang Samateh Manneh, the Governor of the region earlier urged her people to listen keenly and contribute immensely for the establishment of the commission. She finally congratulated Government for the good initiative.