Marie-Pierre Hydara, daughter of late journalist Deyda Hydara, has said that her father was shot “three times in cold blood by assassins” decrying the death brought their family to its knees.
Hydara, the founder of the private daily The Point, was shot dead by unidentified assailants as he drove home from his office in the capital, Banjul, on December 16, 2004.
Marie Pierre expressed “utter dismay and disgust at the horrendous manner in which a daring and fearless journalist was cowardly snatched away from us.”
The June 2014, the ruling by the ECOWAS Community Court found that the Gambian government, under President Yahya Jammeh, failed to conduct a meaningful investigation into the murder of journalist Deyda Hydara.
“The very system that was supposed to safeguard the lives of our own people failed flatly from the very onset, whether by intention or default, in showing interest or any humanity in apprehending his killers, or their cohorts,” said Ms. Hydara.
“Our only comfort was that he died for his ideals,” Marie-Pierre, who currently lives and is studying in the U.K., said in between sobs as she wipes tears running down from her eyes.
She went on: “All these years without justice in fact arouses the question whether the Gambia government was ever interested in finding the killers…”
She said the so-called investigation that was instituted by former President Jammeh was just a smoke screen with the fog of international community that were calling for investigations into the murder of her dad.
“Whatever purpose Deyda’s killing was for, it has failed flat. Because if it was meant to silence the press, some are fighting tooth and nail to get us the justice we or he deserve,” she said.
“Our cries and calls for justice are echoing… Deyda stood up for what he believes and died a champion of press freedom,” Marie said of her father, who along with other veterans founded the country’s press union in 1978.
Hydara was a leading advocate for press freedom, human rights and good governance under the dictatorship.
Daughter Marie-Pierre Hydara lauded the dedication and steadfastness of human rights groups and Gambia’s independent media’s will to continue this battle, which she described as “ever so touching”.
“Each time, it brings tears of joy to our heart. When we embarked on this quest for answers over ten years ago with a two-million-dollar-question, ‘Who killed Deyda Hydara?’ – we didn’t have any gun to fight back. We didn’t have a TV or radio to cry out for help. We were one family lost, where disbelievers will lead us astray without the guidance of the almighty Allah,” she added.