Mr. Martin Kyere, 27, who escaped death in the company of about 44 Ghanaians that were allegedly arrested and brutally murdered by Gambian Police on the orders of President Yahya Jammeh two years ago, has finally broken his silence on the events of that dark night in Banjul, Gambia.

Giving a chilling account of their nightmare, Kyere, currently resident in Berekum in the Brong Ahafo Region, said the soldiers arrested and bundled them into a 207 Mercedes Benz bus on July 22, 2005 and took them into a bush where his friends were shot and butchered to death.

He mentioned some of the victims as Agya Amo, Paul Acquah, William Mensah, Yaw Kyere, Kwamena Fosu, Kwaku Appiah and Peter Mensah. Others were Nelson Frimpong, Richard Boakye, Isaac Kwadwo Ampadu, Emmanuel Nortey, Isaac Asante, John Kwaku Akwaful and Daniel Kumi.

Kyere could however not confirm whether they all lost their lives but official sources have indicated Kyere was the only Survivor.

According to him, he narrowly escaped death because the rope used in tying him got broken as the security agents were dropping them into a ditch in an area called Brufur, near a Gambian river.

According to the Daily Guide newspaper, Kyere who spoke on a local radio station, New Mercury FM in Kumasi last Thursday, said they had met in The Gambia, which was then a popular transit route to Europe, in search of greener pastures.

Around July 2005, they were given the assurance that one Charles Taylor, aka Captain, could take them to Spain via River Gambia.

The Senegalese agents recruited a number of Ghanaians and other ECOWAS nationals numbering about 50 who showed interest in the deal.

So one day they all camped at Sali Imboo, a village near the river, while Taylor arranged with a certain Lami to release his boat to transport them.

He said deep into the night, when they had just begun the journey, communication became difficult as they reached the middle of the river. They then sent six members of the group to contact Taylor but the six never returned and a few minutes later information reached them that state security guards were on the river looking for them. The frightened owners of the boat, he said, quickly left them by the riverside to their fate, which soon turned tragic.

Still fighting to continue the trip they sent other persons Victor, Agya Amo and Nana Benyin to see if they could find Captain Taylor but later events revealed they had been arrested and detained at the police station.

He said a couple of hours later Victor returned in the company of security men, who apprehended and marched them to the police station, where they were tied with ropes.

News about their arrest spread quickly, so thousands of people including government officials and journalists rushed to catch a glimpse or them.

It was then that they learnt they had been arrested for allegedly plotting to oust The Gambian government, headed by President Yahaya Jammeh.

Their nightmare was to continue the next day, when they were ‘loaded’ into the 207 Mercedes Benz bus and driven to Brufur. During the journey they feared the worst so they began to pray, Kyere said. However, a soldier angered by their prayers and plea for mercy, drew a sharp machete and cut off the hand of one of them.

They seized their food, documents and money, and as well beat them up severely. He said the only sound he heard thereafter was the firing of gunshots amidst screams of ‘God save us! God save us!’

‘He maintained, however that he was alive today because he broke free from the rope and fled amidst firing of bullets.

It would be recalled that an investigating officer at the Gambian Police headquarters, Sekouba Jadama wrote a letter to the editor of the Freedom newspaper, giving a detailed account of what happened.

He had asked international bodies to call the Gambian President to explain since he gave the orders for the execution of the men.

He wrote: “While at the occasion, a telephone call suddenly came from the NIA Officer posted at Barra that some West African Nationals have been arrested and their motives were to destabilize the celebrations of July 22. Ousman Sonko, the Inspector General of Police was present, as well as Daba Marena, DG-NIA and Ndure Cham, Chief of Staff.

“Instructions were passed immediately for their detention and Abu Njie used his cellular phone to contact the “Gelegele” owner to be on standby to transport the arrested West African Nationals.

“The Banjul/Barra ferry had already closed. However, instructions were given to the Managing Director of the Ports, Mr. Gibba, to dispatch the ferry without further delay to Barra.

“The ferry and the navy boat went to Barra and collected these innocent people under armed escort provided by the State Guard and the Police Intervention Unit personnel.

“They were first taken to the Naval Headquarters and later to the Police Intervention base in Kanifing, and others to the confiscated Baba Jobe residence at Kotu. Most of the Ghanaian Nationals were taken away by the late Captain Tumbul Tamba, Musa Jammeh, the famous “Bombarde” Kawsu Camara, some officers and NIA Intelligence officers.

“There were no Police Officers present, except our IGP, Ousman Sonko.

“Our investigating team then went to Brufur and discovered that the bodies were scattered all over the bushes with deep cuts to heads and eyes and broken noses. Only eight bodies were found at Brufur and the rest were dumped around Batokunku.

“In fact those bodies found at Brufur were to be taken to Batokunku, but because it was getting to daybreak the killers decided to dump them there.”

Source:
Daily Guide
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 (Archive on Wednesday, August 29, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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