29.08.2005 Diaspora News

Unanswered Questions On Murdered Ghanaians

By Salam Mahama"
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It is little over a month ago (24/07/2005) when more than 11 dead bodies of mostly Ghanaians were found near GhanaTown; first 8 then followed by 3, however on the 26/07/2005 another body was found near Bwiam, this was followed closely by the reported “Deportation” of about 12 legally resident Ghanaians. The reported deportation was unconventional in the eyes of any civil society; drop at a border town (Amdalaye) of Senegal and told never to return to The Gambia. This resulted in a highly powered delegation from the Ghana headed by the Foreign Minister Nana Akuffo Addo.

The Government of the Gambia has remained quiet and has continued with its attempt to “kill” the story. It has not even made attempts to put the figures of those dead and missing right but rather continues to behave in a suspicious manner by gagging everyone. There is ample evidence that journalist of. Gambia Radio and Television Service and The daily Observer newspaper, have lots of information but then it appears they have been gagged.

Lets put the facts right and ask some of the appropriate question and hope we will get the appropriate response. We are very convinced that The Gambian Government is in a position to let the truth be known if they have nothing to hide.

1. Not less than 54 people were arrested and were last seen in the hands of the Gambia security officials. This includes the 11 dead and deposited at Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH) mortuary in Banjul. Where are these people now?

2. The elders of Ghana Town handed 2 people who escaped the carnage to the Gambia police at Ghana Town on the 24/07/2005. The 2 were part of a group of 11, who witnessed the murder of first 8 before they managed to escape. The 9th person (Nigerian) was probably the one whose dead body was found at a village near Bwiam some weeks ago. The Gambian Government claims they have released the two when the Ghanaian delegation demanded to see them. Who is going to believe such an open lie? Does it make sense to release them when they are not legal residents and were the main witnesses of the murder case? If they were released, how come that up till now they have not been able to make contact with any of their family members, friends in The Gambia, Ghana Consular Officials, Elders of the Ghana community in Ghana etc.? One of the two escapees, Mr. John Ankoful, whose brother lives in Belgium has been making frantic telephone calls to friends in The Gambia to find out the whereabouts of his brother since the incidence but still has not received any credible information yet. There is unconfirmed information that the two are being held at a secret location on the highway between Banjul and Serrekunda but there are fears that they may also have been killed in cold blood as part of the grand strategy to bury evidence that will implicate the Gambia Government.

3. In this kind of situation, can these people be released without a shade of evidence about it and in the absence of Ghana consular officials?

4. The two escapees are illegal immigrants in this case since they didn't have resident permits. Can they be released from custody without papers or deported without informing Ghana consular officials?

5. Another group of 3 escapees were handed over to the Gambian police by the Ghanaian consular and his team. The 3 should at least be able to give you information up to the point when they left the canoe and swam into Banjul.

Well, for now The Ghanaian Government will need answers as The Ghanaian public and media will continue to put pressure on them. The peace loving people of The Gambia are also waiting to hear the truth.

This case has been handed over to the Interpol, The UN Human Rights groups have been informed, the AU is fully aware, Nigeria, Togo and Senegal governments are also discussing as their nationals were part of the about 54 last seen in the hands of the Gambia Security.

We are also fully aware that some Ghanaians will soon be picked for questioning by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) of the Gambia not because they are involved in the murder but because they think they have been able to get information from the 5 before they were handed over to the police. We are also aware that the telephone numbers of some Ghanaians in The Gambia have also been tapped.

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