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Victims Condemn Amnesty Approval For Sanna Sabally

Muhammed Sandeng
Son of late Ebrima Solo Sandeng

By Ramatoulie Jawo

The families of victims of November 11th 1994, with other victims of human rights violations under Yahya Jammeh’s regime and a coalition of Gambian Organisation have condemned the approval of amnesty for former AFPRC Vice-chairman, Sanna Sabally by the TRRC Amnesty committee.

The victims made this announcement at a press conference while reacting to the news of the approval of amnesty for Sabally by the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission published by the Standard newspaper on 18th March 2022.

In a statement on behalf of the victims, Muhammed Sandeng, son of the late Ebrima Solo Sandeng, pointed out that section 19(3)of the TRRC Act disqualified Sanna Sabally from amnesty; saying the acts Sabally committed amounts to ‘crimes against humanity’.

The young Sandeng described as ‘illegal’, the approval of amnesty for the AFPRC former vice-chair and urged the government not to act on it.

“Sanna Sabally did not apologise to the families of the soldiers that were executed as he (Sanna) claimed they were in a situation of war and he saw them as enemies, not captured soldiers that were to be treated humanely. He said that he ordered for the bodies (of the killed soldiers) to be taken to.. and buried at Yundum Barracks and acknowledged that they were not given the proper burial saying, ‘they were not entitled to decent treatment as they were enemies and enemies cannot be treated properly…’,” Muhammed recalled Sanna’s testimony at the TRRC on the 11th November 1994 incident.

The victims and their families have also expressed their outrage and displeasure in the manner they received the information, which was through the media.

“There was no prior consultation with families of direct victims who have been forced to live through the trauma of Sanna Sabaily and co’s brutal act all these years,” he added

Like victims at the gathering, Mbaya Demiba, the widow of Lieutenant Gibril Saye, is not the least happy with the development.

“Sanna Sabally confessed to killing our husbands, if they say they are going to set him free, we do not have the power to stop it. But we are not happy about it. We have not forgiven him and cannot forgive setting him free as it’s going to be traumatising and painful for us. The entire family is suffering from trauma that cannot be measured truly,” she said.

Also speaking, Abdou Aziz Barrow, son of the late Lieutenant Basirou Barrow shared his experience of growing up without the company of his father.

“I grew up without my father, without his love and companionship which was very difficult for me and my family. A day doesn’t go by without being traumatised by the events and mannerism in which he and his companions were gruesomely killed on the day of November 11th. His death was sanctioned by a coward and carried out by an unrepentant, remorseless and degenerate individual. My family deserves justice and so do all the families affected by Sanna Sabally and his henchmen,” he said.

In its final report, which was made public in December last year by the government, the TRRC found Sanna Sabally, Edward Singhateh, Yankuba Touray and Yahya Jammeh as perpetrators bearing the greatest responsibility for the 11th  November 1994 incident.

The four were found responsible for the torture, assault, beatings, and extrajudicial killings of the 11 GNA soldiers as well as the torture, beatings, arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention of 5 private soldiers; among other crimes.

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