By Mustapha Jallow
A devastated family is calling for investigation into the fate of a plain-cloth-officer Mariama Camara who was said to be summarily executed on 26 August 2011.
Haruna Camara, who spoke on behalf the family of the late officer, told this medium that his sister (Mariama) was attached to state house as a plain clothes officer and was among the guards of the former president; that she was among the close aides to Jammeh but she was staying with her husband, who goes by the names of Alpha Jallow, at Hamza Barracks, opposite Mile II prisons.
According to Camara, it was a sad moment for them when he received a phone call from one Alpha Sowe at state house in the early hours. Camara said Alpha told him that Mariama was shot dead and her husband was strangled but did not die; that all this happened at the Hamza barracks.
‘‘Upon arrival at the barracks gate, I saw a corpse on board a military vehicle with full escort of military personnel including plain cloth officers, heading to Banjul. I boarded a transport and rushed to Police Headquarters where I was advised to visit the Banjul main hospital. At the hospital’s gate, there were armed military personnel who denied me access but they suddenly allowed me to enter. At the hospital, I was told that my sister died on the spot because she was shot in the head. I saw her husband who was alive at the time but his neck was turned on one side. Within an hour, the husband too died’’, narrated Mr. Haruna Camara.
He said they lodged complaint at Police headquarters and a case file was opened for investigation to be conducted; that within some days, a group of men in plain clothes crossed to Essau to investigate as to whether Mariama had committed suicide or not, because the bullet that killed her, went through the right-side of her head. Camara added that after questioning Mariama’s mother, they eventually returned to Banjul.
Haruna further explained that since the execution of his sister, no proper investigation was done in order to establish the person who shot her; that the corpses were given to them and Mariama was buried at her native village in Essau on 29 August while her husband (Alpha) was buried in Faji-kunda on 31 August.
‘‘She was the breadwinner of her family. She used to support her mother and father who later died after hearing the horrific news of his daughter’s demise. Former president Jammeh did not send any condolence to our family nor government officials. It’s sad, because Mariama had a good relationship with ex-president Jammeh and he never took any action to bring those responsible for this heinous act to justice,’’ he stressed.
Mama Bah, the mother of late Mariama is also calling on the authorities to urgently investigate the horrific death of her daughter as well as identify, arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.
‘‘I urge the authorities to investigate those responsible for the killing of my beloved daughter. We also want to know the reason behind their killing because up to now, we do not know anything about the matter,’’ she said.
The mother disclosed that before Jammeh fled to Equatorial, some men in plain clothes came to their home and asked them to be silent on the death of Mariama. ‘‘They told us not to talk about this incident to anyone if Jammeh leaves the country,’’ she explained.