Survivor of Gambian massacre returns to the country to claim justice
Martin Kyere, a 38 years old Ghanaian national, is the only known survivor of the 2005 massacre of 56 West African migrants, perpetrated by Yahya Jammeh's hit squad “Junglers”. He returned to Gambia for the first time after the massacre, and visited Senegal, where many of his companions were killed and buried. He wants to share his story, hoping that one day justice will be served though the prosecution of former Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh.
During his visit, Martin Kyere was interviewed by the news media Jeune Afrique, providing an emotional description of what happened during the tragic night of 22th July 2005. In this interview, he explains how he took a boat from Mbour beach in Senegal with the hope of reaching the Spanish coast. He shared the boat with other 56 people, including many Ghaneans, but also two Senegalese, Nigerians, Togolese, Ivoirians and one Gambian. All of them, except Martin, were killed by the Junglers squad.
Due to harsh navigational conditions, the boat docked in Barra beach, in front of Banjul, Gambia. The ship arrived the same day Yhaya Jammeh took power. Jammeh’s secret services believed that the boat was crewed by foreign mercenaries who were attempting to perpetrate a coup d’état, so when the passengers arrived, they were directly arrested, put in jail and beaten. Victims remained under detention for one week, when a group of Junglers drove them to Casamance (Senegal) and executed them. During the trip to Senegal, Martin managed liberate himself and escape: although the soldiers shot at him, he ran to save his life.
Today, he is fighting for justice with the support of members of the #Jammeh2Justice coalition. As all the victims and national and international organisations comprising this coalition, Martin hopes to see the Ghanaian government taking a step forward in order to bring the former dictator to justice.
Martin Kyere concludes his interview with the following words: “My life today consists on pursuing justice, every minute, every hour and every day of my life. If I seek justice today, others will seek it tomorrow. It would be a message sent to the entire African continent. A message to the dictators: whatever they do today, they will be paying for it tomorrow”.
Read Martin Kyere’s testimony at the article “Gambie: le seul survivant ghanéen du massacre de 2005 raconte comment il a échappé aux « junglers » de Yahya Jammeh”, published at Jeune Afrique on 24 October 2018. Available at the following page (written in French):