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General News of Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Source: GNA

Vigil for 44 Ghanaians killed in Gambia


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Accra, July 3, GNA- The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) on Tuesday organised a vigil in honour of the 44 Ghanaians killed in Gambia two years ago.

Speaking at the ceremony, Nana Oye Lithur, Regional Coordinator, CHRI, said two years on, government had not done enough to ensure that the perpetrators of the crimes were brought to justice.

Nana Oye Lithur said government had not yet release the names of those killed, adding that such attempt to silence the truth was at odds with human rights and democracy, which every Ghanaian should, have access to as the country celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

"Every human life is precious and no one has the right to take the life of any person in the brutal manner that the Gambian authorities did in June 2005; those who take lives must be held accountable for their actions," she said.

She accused President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia and his military for being responsible for the deaths and called on the government of Ghana to take the necessary steps in ensuring that those responsible were brought to justice.

Mrs. Florence Nakazibwe, Project Officer, Access to Justice, CHRI, said the killings marked indicators and early warning signs as African leaders debate on the formation of a union government adding, "Our ability to deal with this situation will show the level of our maturity to steer the affairs of all Africans".

"We will not rest until Yahya Jammeh brings justice to the 44 Ghanaians killed in Gambia, injustice anywhere inhibits justice everywhere". She said.

Some of the activists held placards some of which read "Stop Extra Judicial Killings," "Yahya Jammeh, Killers must be Brought to Justice," "AU without Human Rights will fail" and "Gambia we need cooperation".

In July 23, 2005, 44 Ghanaians and six other Africans nationals were on transit to Europe and docked in Gambia waters where the immigration officials identified them as security threats.

They were allegedly linked to a coup plot attempt and the Gambia State House officials were alleged to have used machetes, axes, sticks and other crude objects in killing them which culminated in international outcry for investigations into their killings.

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