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Survivors and families of victims of ‘The Gambia Massacre’ are calling for an increase in the amount recommended as compensation by the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Committee (TRRC) to victims.

The committee in its report recommended an amount of US 612,000 as compensation to be distributed to 67 victims and affected families.

Although the Gambian government is yet to issue a white paper on the report, the affected families of the 44 Ghanaians murdered in The Gambia in 2005, have welcomed the recommendations but expressed some reservations on the amount of compensation.

The Coordinator of the ‘Jammeh for Justice Ghana Campaign’, William Nyarko, described the recommended amount as woefully inadequate.

“This is coming on the back of our own investigations that, former President, Yahya Jammeh indeed was the one who had command and control and ordered the killing of Ghanaians and for that matter, West African nationals. But to have a commission set up by the Gambians to look it and having its findings naming Yahya Jammeh as well 13 others is really a game-changer.”

“Once the state has engaged in state-sponsored illegal killing as well as a state-sponsored coordinated cover-up, it will pave the way for some effective prosecution, and we are hopeful of some accountability. In terms of the compensation, it is woefully inadequate. It will take the current administration to increase.”

A spokesperson for the survivors and a victim of the Gambian massacre, Martin Kyere, who spoke at a news conference in Kumasi, also want the recommended amount as compensation increased.

Three former members of a paramilitary unit cum death squad, the Junglers, admitted that they and 12 others had carried out the killings on Jammeh’s orders, in July 2019.

The TRRC was set up by the Gambian government to investigate the killing of some West African migrants, including 44 Ghanaians, who were passing through The Gambia from Senegal to seek greener pastures in Europe in 2005.

Pending a government White Paper in The Gambia, the Commission recommended the payment of a total sum of USD 612,000 to victims and their families.

“The Gambia Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission has found former President Yahya Jammeh and 13 others criminally liable for the unlawful killing, torture, and enforced disappearances of about 67 West African migrants, including about 44 Ghanaians, and recommended their prosecution”, the report read in parts.

It thus asked for the establishment of an international joint investigation team (Joint Forensic Investigation Team) based in The Gambia, which will comprise forensic investigators and scientists from The Gambia, Ghana, Senegal, and Nigeria, with the relevant skills, training, and background to carry out the following tasks:

a. To without delay identify the exact locations where the victims were buried, including the wells and graves mentioned by the witnesses that are located in both The Gambia and also in Cassamance, Senegal.

b. Take all reasonable steps to ensure the security and full protection of all the sites where the remains were buried and yet to be exhumed for the purposes of protecting the human remains therein and from tampering with the evidence.

c. Be given the mandate to exhume and conserve the remains of the victims that may be found in those wells or graves.

d. Be given the full cooperation of the Gambian authorities, including full access to all documentary, testimonial, and physical information and evidence in their possession that the Joint Forensic Investigation Team deems relevant to the inquiry.”

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