Sandeng: My family cries when President Barrow emerged victorious

Dec 30, 2020, 1:19 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

Fatoumatta Sandeng Darboe, the former musician and daughter to Ebrima Solo Sandeng yesterday told the TRRC that while in exile in Senegal, her family, out of joy, wept as Adama Barrow was declared winner of the 2016 Presidential Election.

She added that they were joyful because Solo succeeded in what he wanted, which was to end dictatorship despite his eventual death.

She said on April 14, 2017, she formed a foundation for her father to continue to promote his agenda on democracy.

She said her father was a political and human rights activist, who always wanted to fight for people's right.

Explaining about the incident of April 14, 2016, which resulted in the arrest and killing of her father, she revealed that one morning, Solo told them to leave the compound till things got normal because he was going to stage a protest.

"I went for work; and at some point, I saw some women running from Serrekunda market to Tippa Garage. I asked one of the woman the matter and she responded that a coup was about to take place and some people were arrested."

She testified that after things got calm, she with her younger brother Muhammad and their mum went through different police stations to search for their father.

He added that the following day, he heard the news that Solo was tortured and he was in a critical condition. 

On 16 April 2017, she stated that her mother was crying because she was informed about the conditions and torture that led to Solo's death.

"My mother was later taken to Ousainou Darboe's compound in Pipeline. Upon arrival, I saw Ousainou crying and that’s how I came to believe that my father was killed as a result of the tortures."

She continued to testify that UDP issued a press release and later agreed to march on the streets for the state to release Solo whether dead or alive. She added that Ousainou Darboe and his executive were in front to lead the protest.

The witness told the commission that as they were protesting and reached around Comium Building, they saw paramilitaries who came into the crowd and start beating people to disperse. She said some got injured and others arrested.

"All of a sudden, I and my younger sister were put in a taxi to Dippa Kunda. After 10 minutes we arrived, a young man ran over us and said the soldiers were coming to our house. That was how we were packed and taken away to the next compound."

She said her younger brother called Yama Darboe, a daughter to Ousainou Darboe informed her about the incident. She added that Yama later brought a vehicle that took them to the Senegalese Embassy.

"The security we met at the embassy, denied us entry and that was how we went to Sanchaba. We later felt like going out of the country because we can't keep hiding from Yahya Jammeh. I relayed the information to Bala Musa Darboe, who linked us with Sohna Sallah that helped us."

She told the commission that they were able to manage their way to Senegal, adding they spent nine months in Senegal and later returned to the Gambia on the 28 January 2017.

He said they late got to know the real truth that Solo was killed. She added that after returning to the Gambia in 2017, the police showed them Solo's grave in Tanji.

"The police asked for permission to examine the body and the remains were taken to Banjul hospital. The remains are still in Banjul hospital because I was made to understand that they are waiting for the outcome of the court ruling."