From a bloodless coup to a bloody 21 years reign filled with despair, dilapidation economic condition, poor healthcare and education institutions and lack of foresight on progressive economic strategic planning and research from 1994 to 2016. Authorizing The the Gambia Army free autonomous r ein to kill and terrify innocent civilians, killing at least 10,000 Gambians and forcing 100,000 people to flee The Gambia soil in search of peace, freedom and greener pastures, in somewhat treacherous and most times suicidal sojourns.
In the 21 odd years that the Gambia and Senegal faced off in border closures, the ‘soldiers with a difference -Yahya Jammeh and his 4 other bandit friends dressed in camouflage’ whom Gambian trusted and presumed to run the Gambia free from ‘Nepotism and corruption, according to their takeover manifesto started with the notion that the previous Jawara regime was corrupt and too dangerous to continue ruling the Gambia, and possibly even suicidal, to allow Jawara or any of the PPP officials to continue working another day in The Gambia.
But the struggle between Senegal and The Gambia was non-fierce, and what that meant in practice was that the competition played out in impoverished places like Casamance and Bissau, where the great statesmen vied, eyed and subverted one another, and sometimes lost their local proxies, all in the name of maintaining the slippery but all-important concept known as the balance of power.The peace held, of course — that is, the larger peace within the region.
The Gambia and Senegal never came to blows, the deranged Gambia president with his ill-trained militia and military never left their bases from Yundum to Kanilai to Farafeneh Barracks. For countries like Sierra Leon, Liberia or Rwanda, where the genocide unfolded, it was another matter entirely. The lack of respect for human life spread far and wide, in toppled governments, loathsome dictators, squalid little wars and, here and there, massacres so immense that entire populations were nearly destroyed.
In “The 21 years of Blood stained Yahya Jammeh’s regime “, and a Forgotten Genocide,” Pa Samba Jow, a human rights activist, has revived the terrible and little-known story of the birth of The Gambia, and of the sordid and disgraceful statehouse diplomacy that attended it during a recent online radio interview. This is a dark and amazing tale, an essential reminder of the devastation wrought by the hardhearted policy and outright bigotry by Yahya Jammeh that typified much of the diplomacy of the casamance war.
It is not a tale without heroes, though; a number of Gambian ex-soldiers — most especially a man named Bai Lowe and co — risked their lives and even sacrificed their careers by refusing to knuckle under to the state House directives and telling the truth about what was happening on the ground in the Gambia on the fall of darkness.
The story begins, as do so many in our diaspora online radios and social media platforms with Gambia expats, with the end of the their ordeals or the beginning of their new found freedom from tyranny in The Gambia – Yahya Jammeh’s Empire. In 1994, when Jawara quit Gambia presidency, Jammeh lopped off Gambia’s’ minority Christians flanks in the Kombos and Banjul municipality. Since then, Gambia’s coexistence has never been the same, the partition unfolded in a frenzy of murder and expulsions, leaving thousands of people dead and many more displaced. A new Gambia has emerged.
As Gambia is undeniably one of the smallest and poorest countries in the world, but improbably divided by two religions Christianity and Islam and countless tribes and surrounded in parts by more than a thousand miles of Senegalese territory and the Atlantic Ocean.
When you look at a map from that time, you have to wonder what on earth were the British and French our colonial masters thinking separating the two nations -Gambia and Senegal. Gambia carried on for years
like nothing is wrong in that nation, with the more Senegalese government our god-given neighbors and blood distant relatives in the surrounding villages increasingly neglecting their Gambian brethren.
Things has evidently changed in The Gambia from that Day Jammeh forcefully took power through the barrel of the gun in 1994, promising a whole bunch of changes for the better – accountability, transparency and probity. (Whatever he wanted privately, he did not call for relinquishing of power and returning Gambi into civilian rule.) Yahya Jammeh never got a chance to acquaint himself with what Gambian people really and truly want from him as their leader.
Instead, Yayhy is bent on intimidation, arrest, jail and torture tactics, ordering the army to crush his opponent s – these are really and truly Gambian citizens he is meant to lead, treating them like enemies in a battlefield, thus, the army brutality, shooting and detention of innocent concerned citizens, religious leaders, intellectuals and anyone who opposed him.
Although today Gambia is ruled by a military dictator, a one time an American ally, now armed with an Arab brief case filled with blank checks and Iranian-equipped military arsenal; Senegal, the giant democracy, considered itself nonaligned — a neutral player in the saga between the Gambia opposition, the diaspora activist and Gambian government standoff. Given what was happening on the ground in The Gambia — the Senegalese Army acting wantonly, ignoring the plight of the Gambian citizens — you might expect the Senegalese president to restrain the Gambian ill-trained generals. So one arrives at the devastating heart of the desperation of the Gambians; reflecting on te recent youths fleeing back-way epidemic; youths fleeing in drones by any means necessary in search of better lives in the western wold.
In recent awful events of the witchcraft crackdown in the rural areas in the Gambia and the detention of Gambia Islamic state, President Jammeh and his national security advisers, the NIA, were trying to establish relations with the president, which was only then emerging from the chaos of recent times marred with intimidation and brutality coupled with maltreatment of former and active officials found in noncompliance to pleasing the dictator, they only want desperately to impress Yahya Jammmeh.
In something less than a catastrophic way and, as focused as ever on the Gambians in the dispora having tried all sorts of efforts to intensify and magnify the deplorable and inhumane plight of the Gambian people, clearly we believed that their efforts have opened a channel to the global and powerful nations that could help them overcome this cancerous Yahya Jamme’s regime, by delivering a blow to his ego and tight fist rule by exploiting and exposing his wickedness and weakness to obtaining foreign aid from western nations.
It’s hard to overstate just how earth-changing Jesse Jackson regarded his trip to The Gambia — and how important he thought his visit exposed Yahya Jammeh to the US media and beyond, this mean’t that Yahya Jammeh— a vain, shallow mediocrity — was suddenly considered indispensable, free to do whatever he wished in The Gambia.
With the Senegal and pretty much the whole world averting its eyes, the largely Muslim Gambia Army killed at least 100,000 Gambians, most of them Jolas, and forced 10’s of thousands of our youths and strong young adults into back-way suicidal journeys’ and thousands fleeing to Senegal.
Diaspora Gambians lays out their indictment of Yahya Jammeh and his cohorts spurned the cables, written by his own victims – ex-diplomats, ex-military personnel and some active civil servants, that called out Jammeh’senblers notably the Black Black boy also known as junglers are equally guilty of carrying out widespread massacres and torture to innocent civilians.
The HUMAN RIGHTS activist group called DUGA based in D.C USA sent an angry PETITION letter to the Gambia Embassy in DC that detailed the Jammeh systematic atrocities and used the word “genocide.” Those benefiting directly from Jammeh and his supporters, however, not only refused to condemn Yahya — in public or private — but they also declined to withhold their moral stance on the burning issues of the suffering the Gambian people. They regard Jammeh the dictator with genuine affection. In a recent online radio call-in forum, Malick Mbye, a Jammeh die heart loyalist and speaker of the APRC Jmmeh political party was heard saying “I understand the anguish those not in support of Jammeh and his regime must have felt in making the difficult decisions they have faced, but Jammeh has not tortured or killed anyone”.
The voices of Mlick Mbye and his Jammeh loyalists with similar believes not only was it insulting but mostly shocking to the ears of those that have lived through the pain and living it to this day. Most sane Gambians listening to these online radios regard Malick Mbye as breathtakingly vulgar especially in his attitudes toward the victims of Yahya Jammeh, most people regard is statements as repulsive, shifty and, anyway, anti-progressiveness and wicked.
These sorts of statements will probably not surprise that most sane people with some level of education and wisdom will never support Jammeh, but what is most telling is what this statements reveal about Malick Mbye’s intelligence level. They would do anything to milk the system under a frantic leader like Jammeh.
Jammeh’s power takeover from the Jawara regime could be summarized by any cool calculations of power grabbing opportunists- a mere luck and not by strategy or expertise military know-how experience on taking over a government. By us failing to restrain Jammeh, we would be allowing a blood bath to unfold, and then a civilian war, which is already brewing since that day Jammeh decided to takeover power in 1994.
In turn, prompted Gambians to start sectarian ideologies like tribal, regional, religious divisive attitudes in the Gambia and moreover the locals and those in the diaspora. At this point, the recklessness of Yahya Jammeh is only getting worse and beyond comprehension by many people globally. They dispatched news bulletin of the recent headscarf, witchcraft hunting and declaration of the Islamic state of The Gambia is encouraging division and secularism in The Gambia, possibly egging for a possible attack on his opponents or minority Christians — a maneuver that has already provoked the Christians in the country. Fortunately, the majority good Muslims in the country disassociated themselves and condemn his latest ignorant and disrespectful announcements.
The christian leaders proved more sober than most Muslim elders only using faith to enrich themselves and that of their families, burnishing their images as selfish and ‘highway Imams’.
By The Economist