By Fatou Dahaba
The Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) continues examining one of the most infamous episodes of Jammeh’s rule, the alleged execution of around 50 Europe-bound migrants in 2005. A Ghanaian national, Martin Kyere the yet known sole survivor of the killing, has testified to the commission on Monday.
Appearing before commissioners, Kyere recalled in detail the incident leading to the massacre of his colleagues, recalling that in July 2005, he was on his way to Senegal to find a route to Europe to seek greener pasture.
He described how soldiers “with cutlasses and guns” stripped and beat the migrants when they first captured them. The witness also informed the Commission that there were 67 migrants in total, some from Nigeria, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Togo, Senegal but the majority from Ghana.
The Ghanaian national revealed that one afternoon while in Dakar, two Ghanaians came with a man called Charles Taylor, who he said, claimed to have a vessel to take them to Europe.
He told the commission that Taylor claimed to be the Captain of the vessel and an American national.
“Taylor told us he has an agent in Gambia by the name Lamin Tunkara, who asked him to bring the vessel to The Gambia because he also has passengers in Gambia. So the passengers in Senegal needed to take a boat to Gambia in order to meet the vessel.”
He testified that they arrived at Banjul ports in early morning and upon arrival at the Barra Beach, the boat owner said he has to return to Mbour.
The witness said they were beaten by soldiers with cutlass and guns, adding that the soldier will just cut their shirt and trouser with cutlass.
He further stated that the soldiers used rope to tie the first batch of detainees and ordered them to join a bus belonging to soldiers.
“I was dropped off at Bundung Police Station with 10 people but they took two Ghanaians in the following night and brought in Lamin Tunkara. We were at Bundung Station for a week and one night, a car came for five people including me and took us to a warehouse. They took us from that house towards another direction and when we asked Lamin where he was taking us, he asked us to pray. One Nigerian man a Muslim was praying and the soldiers stop the vehicle and cut the backbone of the man.”
Mr. Kyere recalled that their pick-up proceeded to a forest and this was around midnight.
When ‘our car stopped’, he said a soldier came and cut Agye Amo’s arm and buried their bags.
The witness revealed that as their car moved deeper into the forest, he tried to find an escape route.
“I was able to free the wire on my hands while the car was moving and I jumped out of the vehicle. The car stopped and the soldiers used a big torchlight to search for me and I could hear the voices of my colleagues, saying ‘God help us’. I suddenly heard a gunshot and as the pick-up was coming back to the direction I was, I ran further into the forest to escape.”
Kyere disclosed that he was only wearing his underwear, saying at the forest he met an elderly man, who asked his name and nationality and later took him to a village called-‘BunKilling’.
Kehinde Enagameh elder brother to Paul Omozemoje Enagameh, who was part of the Migrants Killed in The Gambia, also testified on behalf of the Enagameh family of what he knows when his brother embark on the journey and challenges it has on his family.
Ghanaian Survivor, Others Testify on Massacre of W/African Migrants
By Fatou Dahaba