Ghanaian survivor recounts massacre of W/African migrants

Mar 2, 2021, 12:49 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

Martin Kyere, the sole known survivor of the 2005 massacre of 50 West African nationals by ‘Junglers’ in The Gambia on Monday revealed before the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission the identities, the types of tortures and the execution of different nationalities, who were among those arrested in Banjul on 22 July 2005.

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.

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.”

Testifying further, Kyere then recalled those among the team in Mbour to travel to Gambia namely; Abari Kassim, Eric Yao, Victor Oduro, Edmmon Kumi, Kwabena Fosu, Richard Boakye, Yao Kyere, Janet of Ivory Coast, Macufenmale Ghanaian, Agya Amo, Eric Nketia, Kawe Master, Agye Kum, Kwabina Kossy, Daniel Amankwa, Kwadu Ampadu, Daniel Kwadwo Bai, Desmond Addae and Kwadwo Antwi.

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 because the agreement was for only one night.

Kyere, who is a trader by occupation, said that they sent some of their men to search for Taylor, during which they were arrested and in the evening Daniel came with a boat.

He added that they thought it was the boat they demanded but unfortunately, it was the Police  who came to arrest them.

He said that within the territory of the Police station, one Denise escaped and he is currently in Germany.

The statement of Macau and Jennet, he added, were taken at the Barra Police Station and later taken to Banjul around 11pm.

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 up 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’.

The witness narrated that the said village was closer to Cassamance border and later used Dakar road via Kolda and then to his native Ghana.