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03.10.2005 Diaspora News

Ghanaian Starved To Death In Gambian Cell

By Salam Mahama
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A Ghanaian resident in The Gambia and a mason by profession, Mr. Daniel Adjei Banin (alias Kantinka) died allegedly from starvation and torture shortly after he was released from Gambian police custody in a bizarre sequence of incidents. He was buried in Banjul on Friday, 23rd September 2004 and the Ghanaian community performed funeral rites the following day.

A Gambian magistrate, Moses Richards, ordered Mr. Banin to be put in police custody after he went to the court to sue an Englishman resident in The Gambia who had allegedly duped him of a huge sum of money on the promise of trafficking him to Europe. Upon reporting the case to the court, the magistrate instead of calling the case for appropriate hearings demanded from the Ghanaian to produce his alien's identity card and resident permit, which he duly provided. The magistrate further went ahead to demand that he provides an expatriate tax certificate. Mr. Banin, however, told the magistrate that he was a mere labourer (mason) and therefore not liable to pay such a tax, which applies to foreigners working in the country as expatriates. The magistrate then ordered his detention.

Mr. Banin is alleged to have been starved and maltreated while in police custody for four good days until he became frail, weak and frustrated. A few hours after he was released he died in his house. It is being speculated that the police only released him when they realized he was so weak and might die in their custody.

Ghanaians in The Gambia have become increasingly apprehensive about their security since 54 foreigners including 40 Ghanaians were killed in cold blood by the Gambian security. Ghanaians in The Gambia have been experiencing various acts of xenophobia by the security forces against them since then, though Ghanaians are widely known to have very good reputation in the country. In fact, almost any educated Gambian has ever been taught by a Ghanaian teacher including the current President Jammeh and the magistrate who ordered the detention of Mr. Banin. The magistrate interestingly is the son of the former Ghana Consul in The Gambia.

The Ghanaian community in Gambia is very unhappy about the apathetic attitude of the Ghana foreign ministry towards their plight and those of the 40 Ghanaians recently murdered in The Gambia.