April 10 & 11 ‘Students’ Massacre’ Commemorated - April 11, 2017 Daily Observer

April 10 & 11 ‘Students’ Massacre’ Commemorated -  April 11, 2017 Daily Observer

A procession in honour of students who were shot and killed, with others paralyzed during April 10 and 11 students’ protest in 2000 was commemorated yesterday.

Seventeen years ago, students across the country particularly the Greater Banjul area, took to the streets demanding the release of their colleague who died in custody. The protest later turned in to violence and security personnel open fire at them, fourteen of them died and scores were injured and others paralyzed.

The 1st anniversary took a form of March past from GTTI towards MDI road, in Kanifing and it ended at Westfield Youth Monument. The event was organized by April 10 and 11 Memorial Foundation, Initiative for the Promotion of Democracy and Good Governance, Senegambia Democracy and Governance and DUGA.

Their message was unequivocal; they are demanding justice for the victims of April 10th and 11th, with students carrying placards and banners, chanting slogans; “What do we need, justice, when do we need it, now.” ministers of Youths and Sports, Information, Communication and Infrastructure and Attorney and Minister of Justice were part of the procession.

Justice Minister Ababoucarr Tambadou, said April 10 and 11 were a very dark and unfortunate chapter in the history of The Gambia. “Seventeen years ago, I was here as a lawyer and one of the lawyers of the students at the time, together with Lawyer Ousman Sillah, Amie Bensouda, Emmanuel Joof, and others represented the students at the time.”

Tambadou said it’s disheartening to see that seventeen years after that day; they are able to come out carry peaceful procession. “The students’ wanted an opportunity to express themselves and their grievances as a result of brutality meted out to some of their colleagues at the time.”

He said that, what the students were asking for was to be given an opportunity to show their grievances through a peaceful demonstration, which is constitutionally guaranteed, unfortunately lives were lost. “At the time, the former government felt that any exercise of a fundamental human right by citizenry of The Gambia amounted to a challenge of their unquestionable authority and they acted resulting in the death of students.”

He said they all wanted justice and justice comes in different forms, adding that for him and for the families of the victims, they wanted to know who gave the order for the students to be shot. “We are setting up mechanisms to find out why those students were killed.”

Maila Touray, one of the organisers of the event, said on 10th and 11th April, the lives of their young children were taken and others were left in wheel chairs. “Those killed and paralyzed had the rights to demonstrate,” Touray noted.


by Omar Wally