Gambian authorities excavated the remain of an opposition activist, Solo Sandeng, who was killed after being tortured for protesting against unfair electoral laws.
Sandeng’s death sparks series of protests in the capital and led to the jailing of former opposition leader and now Minister for Foreign Affairs Ousainou Darboe with at least 50 other supporters of the United Democratic Party.
Nine officers of the National Intelligence Agency linked to Sandeng’s death have been arrested and charged with his murder. The agency stands accused of jailing, torturing, maiming and killing ousted dictator Yahya Jammeh’s opponents.
Mr. Sandeng’s remains were unearthed in front of his son Muhammed Sandeng after the former operations director of the NIA Sheikh Omar Jeng led investigators to a secret burial site of the former regime. Jeng is among the nine charged with his murder.
Muhammed had written to the European Union to put pressure on Gambian authorities to hand over the remains of his father.
Jammeh ignored calls by the international community to open an independent investigation into Sandeng’s death, instead choosing to tell former UN Secretary General “Ban Ki Moon and Amnesty International can go to hell.”
Sandeng’s remain has been taken to the main teaching hospital in Banjul for medical examiners to ascertain the “real cause of death.”
Former President Yahya Jammeh is now in exile in Equatorial Guinea. The government of Jammeh, who came to power in a 1994 coup, frequently committed serious human rights violations including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, and torture against those who voiced opposition to the government.
(Reporting and Writing by Sainey MK Marenah; Editing and Contribution by Sam Phatey)