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Sole survivor of 2005 killings of Ghanaians in Brufut returns to Gambia

Gambia's former President Yahya Jammeh who now lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea

The sole survivor of the 2005 Brufut massacre of 44 Ghanaians, Martin Kyere, will face the Gambian media at TANGO on Saturday.

This is the first time Mr Kyere visit the country since he escaped death in July 2005. Activists who are working on bringing Jammeh to justice said the Junglers, a paramilitary unit controlled by then Gambian president Yahya Jammeh, summarily executed over 50 West African migrants and one Gambian.

The Campaign to Bring Yahya Jammeh and his Accomplices to Justice (#Jammeh2Justice) Human Rights Watch, TRIAL International and the Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations (Victims’ Center) investigated the case and released a report in May 2018.

Meanwhile, human rights campaigners meeting in the Senegalese capital Dakar on Wednesday said putting former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh on trial over the alleged massacre of 56 West African migrants in 2005 was achievable.

Present at the confab was Martin Kyere, the sole survivor of the incident which reportedly took place in The Gambia when Jammeh was in power.

“Like the Hissene Habre trial in Senegal, Jammeh’s prosecution in Ghana for the massacre of 56 migrants is possible. Such a trial would contribute to the fight against the impunity of African leaders,” said the activists, represented by Human Rights Watch’s Reed Brody (HRW), Marion Volkmann-Brandau, the Campaign Coordinator #Jammeh2Justice, and Benedict de Moerloose of TRIAL International.

During a press conference also marking the launch in Senegal of the #Jammeh2Justice campaign, the group said the Ghanaian government has instructed its ministers of Foreign Affairs and Justice to study their request for a procedure towards Jammeh’s extradition to Ghana and its legal and diplomatic implications.

In July 2005, 56 migrants, including two Senegalese, left Senegal on a motorized canoe in a bid to reach Europe only for their boat to wash ashore in The Gambia.

They were arrested by the Gambian Navy on 22 July 2005, the eleventh anniversary of Yahya Jammeh’s military takeover in The Gambia.

They were accused of being mercenaries sent to execute a coup and eventually shot in a forest not far from Kanilai, Jammeh’s home village.

A report published in May 2018 by Human Rights Watch and TRIAL International revealed that the migrants were killed by the “Junglers”, Jammeh’s feared death squad.

Ghana’s Martin Kyere, the only known survivor of the incident, and Gambian victims, called on the Ghanaian government to open an inquiry.

“Prosecuting Jammeh is possible and I’m going to work tirelessly toward this in memory of my lost companions” Kyere vowed.

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