By Yankuba Jallow
A father to Musa Sembene has linked his son’s demise to a gunshot wound he sustained on his head during the April 2000 mass students’ demonstration.
“My son was shot while at home during the April 2000 students’ demonstration,” Ousman Sembene told TRRC.
Musa Sebene, a 3 – year – old was shot on his head while at home by security officers who were shooting students’ demonstrators 19 years ago.
“Musa’s mother told me the bullet struck him while at home on the right-hand side of his head,” the father said.
The 58 – year – old father said the bullet that caused his son’s demise landed on his head while at his home in London Corner.
He said on 10th April 2000, he was on his way to pick his children from their school, but his vehicle was stopped by students who blocked the highway and they were in possession of stones. He said he turned with his vehicle and decided to take another route but as he was approaching Tipper Garage in Bakoteh, he heard a lot of gunshots and he returned home at London Corner.
“Not more than 10 minutes when I arrived home, I was told by a person that my three-year-old Musa was shot on his head,” the witness said.
“I was shocked; I felt a lot of pain,” he added.
He said his late son was put under the Intensive Care Unit.
“When I arrived at the hospital, I saw him bleeding through his ears, nose and mouth,” Sembeng said.
He said the first three days the doctors did nothing for Musa and he was left lying there.
“The doctors did not tell us anything and they did not treat him even though he was bleeding. Musa was in that condition from the first day to the third day,” he said.
He said on the 3rd day at the hospital, former Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy came there to visit them.
“Her visit brought me hope but when I watched the television and saw her speak, my hope dissipated. The way she spoke, I saw that she was not bothered about what happened to the victims and from that day to today, I stopped watching the Gambia television (GRTS),” he said.
He said on the 4th day of their stay at the hospital, he asked the nurse about the doctor responsible for his son and he was shown a Cuban doctor.
“The doctor told me they cannot treat my son because they do not have the facilities and I should take him to Dakar for treatment,” he said.
He said he went to the Gambia Airways and bought two tickets – one for Musa and the other for the nurse who accompanied him to Dakar. He said Musa was put in an ambulance and taken to the airport. He said at the airport, the captain said Musa’s mother should go with him even though she does not have a flight ticket.
He was first taken to the Principal Hospital of Dakar where he spent a week then he was transferred to Abass Ndow Hospital where an x-ray was done on him and the bullet was seen.
“Musa was operated and the bullet was removed from the backside of his head. The operation was successful,” Sembene said.
He said after the operation, Musa started doing very well.
“After the operation, Musa saw me and started crying. He was asking about his brothers and sisters,” the father said.
Sembene said the doctors in Senegal told him that the days that Musa spent in The Gambia without medical care has caused damaged on him.
“Musa spent about two months and he passed away on the 5th June 2000 at 8:15 pm,” he said, adding that he was buried in Dakar.
He said the Gambia Government has never supported him in terms of paying the hospital bills or any of the expenses.
Sembene said former President Yahya Jammeh was responsible for whatever happened to his son and all the victims because he was the head of state and commander in chief of the army.
“I believe that if he had not given the order for the shooting, the security officers wouldn’t have shot the students,” he said.