Gambia: My Son Was Shot on the Order of Former President Jammeh – Father Informs TRRC

By Ousman A. Marong

Ousman Sembene, father of Musa Sembene, a victim who was shot at April 10/11, 2000 student massacred told the Truth Commission that his son was shot in the head on the order of former President Yahya Jammeh.

Asked by Counsel Horejah Balla Gaye, how he knew his son was shot in the head on the order of former President Jammeh.

The witness retorted: “Because he (Yahya Jammeh) was the commander in chief of The Gambia Armed Forces,” he explained.

He made the disclosure at Dunes Hotel where he was testifying before the TRRC.

“I believe if Jammeh didn’t give the order for the shooting of the students no one else should have done so, adding that even if the shooting was done by someone he believes Jammeh should have acted or say something about the matter,” he asserted.

The witness said he was visited by the former Vice President Dr. Isatou Njie – Saidy at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on the third day of his son’s admission at Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH) now Edward Small Francis Teaching Hospital (EFSTH).

He recalled that Dr. Isatou Njie – Saidy accompanied by some members of Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) visited him and his hospitalized son.

“I didn’t talk to her at the time, because I was hopeful for her visit,” he asserted.

Asked by Counsel Horejah Balla Gaye why he was hopeful, the witness replied: “Because she is a woman and as a mother she has seen us with our wounded hospitalized kids,” said the witness.

The witness said his hopes were shattered when he heard the former Vice President Njie-Saidy delivered a speech on state television, GRTS as if she welcomed the idea of the shooting of the students.

He stated that they (the victims) received no support or help from the then government under the leadership of ex-president Jammeh.

The witness further said his son was transported to Banjul International Airport and taken to Dakar for overseas treatment.

He said upon arrival at the airport the captain of the flight took Musa inside the aircraft and prepared him well.

“The captain asked about Musa’s mother, when I showed him my wife, he asked if she should go with us and I said I have no extra money to pay for her ticket. The captain then asked my wife to enter the plane and that’s how she gets to Dakar with Musa,” he told the Commission.

The witness lamented that no one was held responsible for the killing of his son when he died on June 5.

He said there was a Commission of inquiry set up by former president Jammeh and the culprits were later indemnified without consulting the victims. 

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