By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The wife of late Lieutenant Abdoulie “Dot” Faal, Awa Njie, has called on relatives and the society to stop mocking victims of former President Yahya Jammeh who testified at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC). Ms Njie says some people have predicted that the TRRC’s recommendations will not be implemented, “just like the Janneh Commission” in an attempt to deflate their hopes for justice.
The TRRC was enacted by the Gambia’s National Assembly in 2017 to investigate the human rights violations of former President Yahya Jammeh’s regime. Appearing before the Truth Commission on 27th March 2019, Ms Njie explained how her husband left behind an eight-month-old son. According to Ms Njie, her husband’s house was seized by one Batch Samba Jallow, an Orderly of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) Leader, Edward Singhateh.
10th Nov 1994 Hug Goodbye
During her testimony, Ms Njie said her husband was ranked, Warrant Officer Class 2 before the July 22nd 1994 Coup and soon after promoted to Lieutenant. The July 22nd Coup was spearheaded by the AFPRC military Junta, led by Yahya Jammeh, Sanna Sabally, Edward Singhateh and Yankuba Touray. According to Ms Njie, she moved from Farafenni Barracks to Fajara Barracks after the Coup, with her husband and suckling son. However, she could not recall any connection between her husband and members of the AFPRC Junta.
During her testimony, Ms Njie depicted the emotional moment her husband hugged their son goodbye before he died on 10th November 1994 when over 40 soldiers accused of a counter-coup, were killed at Fajara Barracks. According to Ms Njie, after her husband hugged their son, he stood in the room observing them both for a while before he left. Unknowing to her that would be her last moments with her husband.
“The Mockery is too Much”
In an exclusive interview with Gainako, Awa Njie complained that the “mockery in this country is too much. After perpetrators have killed your husband, or your mother, or your child or someone close to you”.
“Yet in the absence of justice [which we are still pushing for], people start saying that our efforts will not get anywhere. Some even tell you that the TRRC will not get anywhere just like the Janneh Commission. Nothing will be implemented. You know that’s a very heartbreaking thing to say to victims seeking for justice, mocking us” she said.
Another victim who she claimed was facing similar mockery are the relatives of Ndure Cham who were targeted with statements like “your father was not killed, he ran away. Mocking his children who are still young and defenceless in the face of such mockery”.
When asked who are actually mocking the victims Awa said “it’s the Society, sometimes it’s your own relatives and sometimes people from outside your family”. This shocked me into asking “you mean relatives of victims are mocking them?”
She reiterated that “yes, your own relatives will be mocking you, knowing fully well the ordeal you’ve suffered through. They will be mocking you on top of that. To add insult to injury and cause you more suffering”.
“However, since we are Muslims, we just take our problems to the Almighty and know that one fine day we will get Justice,” she said.
“Return Seized Farato House”
Asked what her demands are since she has lost her Husband and this is now affecting her family. In response Awa asked for the “TRRC to return the house which was seized from her husband. The house was seized by Batch Samba Jallow” she said.
Asked if Mr Jallow seized the property from her husband and Awa explained that he didn’t seize it but it was given to him. “Batch Samba Jallow is the orderly of Edward Singhateh and he lives at Farato. My husband bought a house at Farato and asked Batch Samba Jallow to look after it. Instead, he went ahead and sold the house and we need justice. We need a place to live.”
“We are currently renting a place to live. We need shelter as renting is expensive. The TRRC is helping me to pay for my rent but I need this to improve because the rental is not sufficient”, she said.
This publication is supported by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ).