The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on Thursday launched the Migration Information and Data Analysis system (MIDAS) at the GID headquarters in Banjul.MIDAS is a comprehensive and affordable border management information system that is operational in over 20 countries including Madagascar, Liberia, Congo, Burkina Faso amongst others for effective border control and management. Developed by IOM in 2009, the programme has the capability to collect, process, store and analyse traveler information in real-time and across an entire border network by capturing both the biographic and biometric information of travelers.
The designed programme is funded by the people of Japan and installed in three key border crossing points: Amdallai in the North Bank Region, Farafenni and Giboro in the West Coast Region.
Speaking at the launching event, Seedy Touray, director general, GID, said the provision of MIDAS is an activity implemented under the project: “Enhancing Capacities of The Gambia’s Local and Central Governments to Manage Borders and Contribute to Trade Facilitation, Community and Economic Development.”
He emphasised the importance of migration data collection and management, saying it is central to the core mandate of the The Gambia Immigration Department. The advent of MIDAS, he continued, is timely and very relevant to the work of the Immigration Department.
He added that efforts are currently in advanced stages to have the system installed at the Sabi Border Post in URR, noting that their ultimate long term target is to have such system installed at all the official entry points of the country and also have the provision of the MIDAS mobile kit to all their border patrol teams across the country.
Martin Kyere, the sole known survivor of the 2005 massacre of 44 West African nationals by ‘Junglers’ in The Gambia, and William Nyarko, executive director of the Africa Center for International Law and Accountability (ACILA), are scheduled to fly into Banjul to testify before the TRRC in a bid to shed light on the incident that was carried allegedly on orders of the former President.About forty-four Ghanaians, nine Nigerians, two Togolese, and nationals of Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, and Senegal are believed to have been killed over several days in July 2005. Among those scheduled to testify before the TRRC is Martin Kyere of Ghana, the sole known survivor.
US based rights group, the Human Rights Watch said previous official attempts to investigate the massacre have been stymied or flawed. Ghana attempted to investigate the killings in 2005 and 2006, but was blocked by the then-Jammeh government.
“In 2008, the United Nations and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) formed a joint investigative team, which produced a report in April 2009 that was said to have concluded that the Gambian government was not ‘directly or indirectly complicit’ in the deaths and enforced disappearances. It blamed ‘rogue’ elements in The Gambia’s security services ‘acting on their own’ for the massacre,” a statement released yesterday morning said.
The UN/ECOWAS report has never been made public despite repeated requests by the victims and by five UN human rights experts.
Of particular interest to such rights groups as Swiss based Trial International is the testimony of Martin Kyere, which may help the organization in their investigations into crimes by former Police IG and Interior Minister Ousman Sonko.
“The TRRC hearings are a source of background information and details of the abuses that took place in The Gambia under Yahya Jammeh’s regime. This information is also an important source for TRIAL International’s investigations,” the right group said.
Some of those yet to come are of particular interest to TRIAL International, such as the massacre of the West Africans in 2005, or the second parts of the sessions devoted to sexual and gender-based violence, or to the “Junglers”, it said.
In July 2019, three former Junglers testified publicly before the truth commission that they and 12 other Junglers had carried out the killings on Jammeh’s orders.
“One of the officers, Omar Jallow, recalled that the operation’s leader told the men that ‘the order from … Jammeh is that they are all to be executed,’ said Human Rights Watch.
Ebrima Jallow, then chief revenue controller of the Gambia Public Transport Services (GPTS), yesterday testified before the TRRC on issues surrounding the alleged execution of West African migrants on 22 July 2005, stating that among those arrested and detained were 44 Ghanaians, two Senegalese, three Sierra Leoneans and three Togolese.Giving his version of the story, Jallow said he was at a music festival at the July 22 Square and received a call from his ex-managing director, Momodou Jange, who told him to go receive some Senegalese wrestlers at the ferry terminal.
He added that upon arrival, Ngorr Secka ordered the soldiers to open the Navy gate, where he saw soldiers with heavy guns with others dressed in black-black.
“While we were there after 1 a.m., I saw the Navy boat arrived and I heard the CDS had also arrived. I later saw them brought about 20 people from the boat and made them knelt down on the ground. The boat returned to Barra end to collect another batch of detainees. Suddenly, a white pickup parked and it was Kawsu Camara alias Bombardier.”
The witness revealed that Bombardier asked the detainees their names and if they delay in their answers, he would kick and slap them.
Mr. Jallow continued to testify that the detainees were later put into a red bus. According to him, military personnel, the detainees and he were among those who also boarded the vehicle. He added that many military trucks and pickups were leading and upon arrival at Kairaba Police Station, they took the two Senegalese away.
“The bus proceeded and before we reached Baba Jobe’s compound, we branched in a compound where I found Bombardier and I heard some soldiers saying Bombardier stayed here.”
The witness stated that was the time he returned to office and found the managing director at the office. According to him, he informed him (MD) that what he told him was not what he (witness) had found on the ground.
More revelations on disappeared West African migrantsFeb 25, 2021, 2:09 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham
Mawlud Faal of The Gambia Police Force (GPF) and Ousman Jallow of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) yesterday testified before the TRRC, giving recollections of their knowledge on the arrest and detention of about 52 West African migrants who were stranded in the country on 22 July 2005. First to testify was Mr. Faal. He explained that he was called by Babucar Bah, who informed him that they heard information regarding a group of people who were looking for a boat to be transported. Faal added that they were suspected as drug traffickers.
“We pretended to have boats that will carry them. When we reached the location, someone whispered and we started seeing people coming from different sides in the mangroves. The way I saw them, I realised they were not drug traffickers but migrants because they were not carry any thing that could indicate they were drug dealers.”
He told the commission that the senior officer he was with took the lead to call the authorities and in a little moment, they saw reinforcement team with two to three boats. He said the captives were transported to the Barra Police Station and the immigration officers were responsible for recording their personal details.
Faal stated that was the time he left to his quarters and the following morning he realised they were escorted to Banjul for further investigation by the immigration.
Ousman Jallow, an intelligence agent also explained that he was the officer commanding investigation of the NIA at the time of the incident. He further testified that he was called by his boss, who, he recalled could be the director of Operations, Ngorr Secka, and told him there were mecenaries or rebels in the country.
“He told me I should cross over with the navy who were already on board a boat and armed. I think I was the most senior officer and I was in charge and upon arrival at Barra, I went to the police station and spoke to the shift commander and explained my mission. I asked for the arrestees and he pointed at the cells. I asked them where they were coming from and who was in charge. They pointed me a leader who was a Nigerian and he told me they were camped in Senegal and they intended to go to Europe, but a Senegalese agent brought them into the country and abandoned them with a Gambian agent.”
The witness said the agent’s number was given to him and when he called, he realised it was one Lamin Tunkara, who used to perpetuate such activities in helping transport illegal migrants.
He added that was the time he informed his boss that the arrestees were not mercenaries or rebels; instead migrants who wanted to go to Europe. He said he signed the diary at Barra Station and took the 50 migrants to Banjul.
"I took them to Navy Headquarters and former Inspector General Ousman Sonko and Assan Sarr came with the service chief. Kawsu Camara alias Bombardier intended to walk over the detainees. The service chief asked them questions on why they were in the country but the answers were they wanted to go to Europe. I can tell you the service chief fully knew the detainees were migrants."
The witness added that they were transported and dropped at Baba Jobe's compound in Kotu and other police stations. According to him, the following day, he found paramilitaries in the house but the detainees were not there. He told the commission that they disappeared at that juncture.
Mr. Jallow said that was the time he decided not to continue with the investigation anymore. He confirmed that UN, ECOWAS and AU officials have come to The Gambia on several occasion on fact finding mission. He said he later heard that about 44 Ghanaians were killed by the Gambia government.
HI there beautiful listeners to my blog where you can fine us on our daily radio programmes,from our studio salt girona spain.It is easy just acquire our app at google play store, is free of charge go there and type the name of the radio, (ALHAJIRADIO), follow on our pages alhajiraio.com, facebook pages ,mixcloud link and as well as on on our twitter page (alhajijadama or @ALHAJI DIBBA)