The wives of the killed soldier Lt. Basiru Barrow said they have longed for a day they could tell Gambians that, contrary to the narration of the Junta members, their husband is a patriot. Barrow was reportedly killed by Junta members on the orders of former president Yahya Jammeh. So far two people have confessed involvement in his execution and they were John Charles Mendy and Alagie Kanyi. Barrow was reportedly shot and bayoneted several times until his death.
The two wives of Lieutenant Basiru Barrow, one of close to two dozen soldiers executed on November 11, 1994, appeared before the Truth Commission on Wednesday.
Sunkarr Yabou, a native of Jarra Barrow Kunda, was living at Bakoteh Layout, with Basiru’s second wife Mariama Marong Baldeh who was working as a nurse at Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital in 1994.
Though his family had no information from him relating to the planned coup, his two wives said he did expressed his disagreement with the Junta over their intentions to stay in power.
Barrow wanted them to go back to the barracks and returned power to the civilians, said Baldeh. On the 11 November, when the news of a coup broke, Basiru’s family had not information as to who were involved though they heard news that some soldiers have lost their lives.
However, his first wife Yabou would later hear on BBC that Barrow was involved and that he was killed. The narration which was made by Sanna Sabally on Gambia Radio and Television Services has indicated that there was a fire fight and Basiru and others died in the process.
However, the soldiers were captured and executed according to various witnesses who testified before the Truth Commission.
The two wives of Barrow were later asked to NIA for questioning for about 3 hours and released.
“Barrow was a great soldier, someone who would never betray his country for selfish and greedy reasons. Contrary to the claims of the junta members, he was never a rebellious soldier,” said Baldeh.
Baldeh said the Barrow he married could never habour evil thoughts he was accused of by the Junta. Yabou said the horrible experience that Gambians have endured in 22 years, Barrow saw it coming in just few months.
“He was an intelligent man,” said Yabou.
Request for Barrow’s remains
Meanwhile, after it became known that Barrow has died, Yabou said they were visited by the military on the night of November 12 who came to collect things belonging to Barrow.
Following that episode, the Barrow family had reached out to the military to request for Barrow’s remains but the response they got was not pleasant.
“He died in a war,” said the military as a justification to not hand over his body to the family. They only had to pray for him and mourn.
The two wives narrated emotional and financial stress the family had to endure as a result of Barrow’s death.
They also appealed to the Commission to help them find his remains so that they could give him a decent burial.
Barrow had 3 children with Yabou and 2 children with Baldeh.