By Mustapha Jallow
Family members of the late Haruna Jatta still demand answers from Gambian authorities about the death of their loved one, after he was killed in a demonstration by the Regional Force ‘ECOMIG’, which is stationed in Kanilai.
A crowd of villagers which include relatives and friends gathered to mourn the third anniversary of Haruna Jatta at his home village of Kanilai on Friday, June 19th 2020 and among them was
Jatta’s widow Rohey Jatta. Rohey who continued to put forward questions to the Government of President Adama Barrow about the demise of her husband, said their questions have still “not been answered as to why her husband was killed.’’
That for three years now, she cannot ascertain who killed her husband. But that they will continue to ask Government until they are reassured of who kill her husband and why, and until Haruna and members of his family get justice for his killing.
“I want to know how my husband was killed, and who killed him,” she told this reporter.
Ebrima aka “Ebou” Jammeh, Alkalo of the community, said he can remember the day when Haruna was murdered and the questions that were asked which are yet to be answered; that with the advocacy of the Foni Youth Development Association (FYDA), Jammeh said this should be a pushing-ground for Government to be reminded that Jatta is still remembered and members of his family still wait for answers as to who, what and why he was killed. Jammeh also applauded the association for support the family of late Haruna Jatta.
A villager in the person of Behtten Sanyang, said the day is sad moment for him.
“Any day I come here, I will see his child dressed-up to join us in remembrance of his father’s death,’’ he explained.
He called on the state to provide answers to family members of the late Haruna Jatta on his death and further called on the association to write again to Government and remind them about the killing of Jatta.
Jalama Jammeh who brought up the late Haruna Jatta, said after he was killed, they did not hear anything from the authorities and that no envoy visited members of his family to tell them anything; that it has been three years now they have been kept in the dark.
Almami Gibba, Secretary General of FYDA said as an association, they will continue to support the family that Haruna Jatta left behind. And on this occasion, the association brought two bags of rice, a gallon of ten litre oil, exercise books, pencils and two uniforms.
Gibba said they have secured a medical report on the death of Haruna Jatta from the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital; but that since then, the authorities have not shown any kind to support to the victim’s family.
If readers can recall, it was on Friday June 2nd 2017, when 52-old year Haruna Jatta and some villagers of Kanilai held peaceful protests against the stationing of ECOMIG Forces in their village. The protestors with banners moved towards where the Regional Force is stationed, some three kilometres away from Kanilai, when they were confronted by ECOMIG Forces who maintained that the protestors should not move towards them. The tension that mounted saw ECOMIG troops firing live bullets first in the air as warning shots but later hitting protestors in the persons of Haruna Jatta, Buba Jammeh, Ebou Tamba, Amadou Jammeh, Musa Badgie, Bakary Sanyang and one Manga.
The fallen protestors were rescued and rushed to the Bwiam Hospital but Haruna Jatta and Buba Jammeh who were in critical conditions, were referred to the EFSTH in Banjul and Haruna Jatta was pronounced dead on Saturday June 3rd; that he died from a bullet wound in the stomach.
Haruna’s death saw even more violent protests afterwards with protestors burning car tires on the high way and chanting for the ECOMIG to leave Kanilai village. Security forces were later deployed
But eventually, peace was restored following the intervention of Amul Nyassi, the National Assembly Member for the area.
Since then, a heavy military presence of the ECOMIG Force has been present in that area, although it has eased.
Jatta was later laid to rest at the Kanilai cemetery on 6th June in an emotional funeral ceremony and was described as a hardworking herdsman for former Gambian leader Yaya Jammeh for 22 years.