The Spotlight: April 10 and 11 2000 Victims
By Yero Jallow
There is not much to a fighter like Omar Joof and the consistent former GAMSU executive, who knew they fought for the rights of students to be respected, and believes in its spirit, come rain come shine. Omar for all I followed over the years don’t need recognition. He earned recognition and lived a typical life in exile consistent with Gambia’s struggle. Omar continues to echo the need for equality, justice, and respect for students. Omar will transfer any blurb given to him to his followers easily. How can this matter be laid to rest then?
Here is a clear message and less we forget, over a dozen students were gunned down by the uniformed forces of the Gambia on April 10 and 11 2000 which also left scores with lasting wounds. To date, no justice for those killed and wounded and the perpetuators of the heinous crime are scot-free, especially after the Jammeh administration downplayed the crooners’ report and decided that none of the soldiers will be persecuted.
Soon after the incident, Jammeh’s second in command, Isatou Njie Saidy, said on televised TV that it was the unarmed students that shot and killed their fellow students. How unarmed students could have done this is probably known to only her and the ghost of the victims will no doubt continue to haunt her ilk. It didn’t stop there, Jammeh’s administration felt a need to dissolve GAMSU and replace it with a functionless structure of their making, one that saw extinction to GAMSU, and does everything humanly possible to stay on that terrain.
Let us just ask God for those that died to peacefully rest. (Amen). Their families and friends will live with the bitterness of having to lose young sons and daughters at a young age. What even hurt more is the manner and nature they were lost and the lack of justice in the whole matter.
How about those alive with lasting psychological and physical impairments? Trust me, others might forget about them, but they are also alive hoping for justice to be served someday. I see it as unfair to totally forget about them, though over the years, I have seen Diaspora activists support them especially during the anniversary of the April 2000 student massacre, but such is short lasting. There is a lot more that citizens can do to support the victims and their families, even though I firmly believe such an effort must be born properly, under a proper grouping, which will aim at championing the cause of these martyrs.
We can draw some conclusions from the whole incident and its aftermath. Peaceful student demonstrators were forced through life ammunition and such life bullets could have only come from the uniformed forces. It is not possible for the unarmed students to have shot and killed their fellow students. The downplaying of the crooners’ reports also reveals that Jammeh’s administration being hell-bent on not seeing justice. Since justice has not been served in this matter, the particular case remains an open case until such time that justice is served. It is unfortunate that an administration that calls itself a Government will continue to distort and be in self-denial of the truth. It is political hypocrisy at its best and for such a crime, be rest assured that buried truth shall rise again. In God Alone is sole reliance, Rest in Peace Students, and may justice shine on this crime someday. (Amen).