Sigga Jagne

(JollofNews) – The sister of former US army captain Njaga Jagne who was killed in the December 2014 coup attempt against the previous Gambian regime of Yahya Jammeh Friday called on President Adama Barrow and his administration to be sensitive to the emotional trauma of Mr Jammeh’s victims.

Sigga Jagne said although Mr Jammeh’s victims were for 22 long years subjected to various heinous crimes including rape, torture and murder without recourse, the Gambian administration has indicated to them that it is more worried about pacifying Jammeh’s cohort, enablers and co-conspirators than being sensitive to their trauma.

Ms Jagne was reacting to Wednesday’s meeting between President Barrow and former ministers of the Jammeh regime including ex-Vice-President Isatou Njie-Saidy, ex-Foreign Minister Neneh Macdouall-Gaye, ex-Information, Communication and Technology Minister Sheriff Bojang, APRC spokesman Seedy Njie and others at the Kairaba Hotel.

Mr Barrow has defended the meeting which he said was aimed at facilitating a formal handover of ministerial responsibilities from the old to the new administration.

But Ms Jagne said Mr Barrow cannot have people like ex-Vice President Njie-Saidy being paraded about and taking pictures with him and smiling and laughing.

“It is one thing for these people to be smiling and laughing around town; for that is their right until a court says otherwise, she wrote on her Facebook page.

“It’s another thing for them to be doing it next to President Barrow and his officials on pictures, videos, etc. These faces being held up in public fora, especially in places of power, serves to re-traumatise and re-terrorise victims of Jammeh’s most horrendous acts of terror.

It sends a certain message…. a signal that the new administration is more worried about pacifying Jammeh’s aiders and abetters, enablers and co-conspirators than being sensitive to those who bore the brunt of 22-years of trauma.”

President Barrow with Jammeh-era ministers

Mr Jagne added: “Imagine the victims of Jammeh’s most heinous crimes who are of those raped or tortured, or whose close family members were callously killed or left with lifelong physical, emotional, or mental wounds. And for 22 years they had no recourse. They either had to run out of their native country or they had to stay in a perpetual heightened state of fear, hiding in traumatised terror and keep mute; living in fear for 22 years while every day they had to see those who committed the most horrendous acts against them parading on TV, parading at the top of the power tree.

“They had to listen to others in power also parading publicly and praising and edifying their terrorisers, making excuses and uttering justifications for those crimes against Gambians and against humanity itself. Imagine the daily mental and emotional horror of witnessing the parading and edifying of One’s terrorisers on a daily basis with no power to do anything about it and no justice system to protect and stand up for your rights.

“Now when they finally think that a NEW Gambia is here, all of a sudden those same faces are being paraded in a manner that gives them prestige, respect and edification at the side of their new president who is at the very top of the government that they put their trust in as the one who will ensure their safety and justice. Giving these aiders, abetters, enablers access to the president and parading them on TV… what signal are they sending to those traumatised victims of Jammeh? Would fear not grip their hearts that indeed these folks are still edified? Are we not signalling to those in this current government that should they commit similar acts of terror against fellow citizens, they would still be edified and given access, paraded publicly in ways that honour them?”

Ms Jagne reminded Mr Barrow that as head of the executive, his actions impact the status quo and the attitude of his leadership will help fortify his government’s resolve and effort in ensuring justice for Mr Jammeh’s victims.