Ex-police investigator explains massacre of 8 W/African migrants

Mar 2, 2021, 12:28 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

A former investigator of The Gambia Police Force (GPF) on Monday shed light on issues surrounding the massacre of 8 West African nationals, who were about to set sail to Spain canaries in search of greener pasture.

Explaining the circumstances leading to the ill-fated event in which more than 50 West African migrants were massacre on cold blood sometime in 22nd July, 2005, Pa Amadi Jallow said that he was the Crime Management Coordinator of The Gambia Police Force at the time.

Jallow vividly remembered issues surrounding the ill-fated event, which he said fell on a Friday and that as usually, there used to be a guard of parade which was graced by senior security and government officials.

He disclosed that at the night, there was a musical jamboree which the President attended but unfortunately he (witness) was unable to attend.

“I was at home watching the event on TV and around midnight, I saw the then director general of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Daba Marena and the Inspector General of Police, Ousman Sonko speaking to the then President. But within 3 minutes, the President got up and walked down the stairs and walk away. In the morning, I saw several missed calls on my phone by my boss Deputy Inspector General and when I returned the call, he told me to go to Kairaba Police Station and that some officials from the NIA will join me to investigate arrestees.”

The Jarra Sankuya born further disclosed that upon arrival at the station, he found people behind the counter half naked and he went to the relief commander, who directed him to the arrestees.

The senior men among the arrestees, he said, told him that they want to travel to Spain and that their Ghanaian agent called Kofi was responsible for their departure in Senegal.

Jallow also informed that the number of their Gambian agent was given to him, saying when he called the number the man who responded was one Lamin Tunkara.

“I told him that I heard he helped people travel to Europe and he replied yes. I also told him to help my brother, in which he asked us to meet at Westfield. I was with Ebrima Faye and when he arrived at the said venue we arrested him and took him to Kairaba Station. As I was taking the statements of the other detainees at the station, the deputy IG called me and said there were four bodies in Brufut, which I need to go with our camera man one Ali Njie to investigate and report to him.”

The witness indicated that when he reached at Ghana Town, he went with some paramilitaries, who took him to the scene.

Upon arrival, the witness narrated that he saw the first dead body which was half naked, broken head and blood oozing from the mouth, noise and ears.

He said he knew the assault was done on the scene and he told the photographer to take a picture.

The witness said he also found the other two in similar condition just like the first body and when they reached the forest, they found other death bodies amounting to 8.

“When I was there, I believe that was a massacre. The IGP later found me on the scene and asked me what I observe and I told him the incident was foul play and illegal. The IG kept quiet and left the scene without knowing what was happening at the forest. Police Inspector 13 Badjie also found me at the scene and asked me to be careful and he left.”

The dead bodies, the witness added, were later referred to RVTH mortuary with the help of Gambian journo Lamin Cham.

Jallow revealed that when he searched the decease’s pockets, he found foreign currencies on them, adding that Cham later asked him what he knew about the incident and he responded that investigation will be launched and anybody found responsible will be held accountable.

“The following Monday, I discharged my commanders to Brufut for a fact-finding mission. I later called the IGP and explained the matter to him but he hang off the phone. When I called him to write a press statement on the issue, he also hang-off his telephone. The IGP never wanted me to go deep into the matter but he was not telling me to stop. Before the incident, I was working on a correspondence from Spain that there was a ship within Gambian waters that they believe is about to take migrants to Spain. As I was working on that correspondence, I was later transferred as Commissioner for Traffic by the IG at the time.”

The witness said that he was isolated by the police high command in executing his duties, before he left the country for Sudan.

While on a study tour in UK, he said one of his friends informed him that they buried 9 bodies before his arrival.