- Martin Kyere, 27, the only Ghanaian survivor of the 2005 July massacre involving 54 ECOWAS national [including 44 Ghanaians] along the coast of The Gambia has finally broken silence on the events of that dark night. The massacre was reportedly ordered by the Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, after they were accused of trying to plot a coup against The Gambia government.
Giving a chilling account of their nightmare, Kyere who currently resides 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 not confirm whether they all lost their lives but official sources have indicated Kyere was the only Survivor.
He had escaped after a rope used in tying him got broken as the security agents were dropping them into a ditch near Brufut, some few metres from Banjul. Kyere ran for his life amidst raining of bullets to track him down.
Kyere told ‘New Mercury FM’ in Kumasi, Ghana’s second city that they converged in The Gambia [the then popular transit route to Europe] in search of greener pastures. They travelled to the country after they were assured that one Charles Taylor [aka Captain] could take them to Spain via River Gambia.
Some 50 ECOWAS nationals, including Ghanaians who showed interest in travelling to Europe, were recruited by Senegalese agents. After a deal was forged, the would-be migrants camped at Sali Imboo, a village near the river, while Taylor made arrangements for a boat to transport them.
He said they encountered difficult communication problems as they reached the middle of the river at midnight, which was why six of their colleagues were sent to contact Taylor. These people never returned but they were later informed that Gambian state security guards were on the river looking for them.
At this stage, the frightened boat owners abandoned them by the riverside. But the men were still fighting to continue the trip and decided to send Victor, Agya Amo and Nana Benyin, to find out Captain Taylor. Events later revealed they had been arrested and detained at a police station in The Gambia.
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, drawing thousands of people, including government officials and journalists rush to the scene trying to catch a glimpse of them.
It was then that it became clear that they had been arrested for plotting to overthrow The Gambia government.
Their nightmare was to continue the next day, when they were 'loaded' into the 207 Mercedes Benz bus and driven to Brufut. 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!"
The massacre of 44 Ghanaians have become a hot issue between The Gambia and Ghana. Ghanaian authorities vowed to strain relations with The Gambia if it refuses to comply with investigations leading to the massacre of their citizens in that country.
After receiving a detailed investigative report by criminal investigators, Ghanaians have been waiting for their government to act quickly on the issue.
The ECOWAS chief, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, was in Banjul few days ago. Informed sources said the crux of the visit was based on the massacre.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.