Gambia Honours Solo Sandeng

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By Yankuba Jallow

Ebrima Solo Sandeng, a former youth leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) was finally laid to rest on Tuesday, 10th January.

Solo Sandeng was honoured with a state funeral that was attended by members of his family, government officials, members of UDP and activists among others.

Sandeng was described as a very strong advocate for democracy and human rights.

Justice Minister Dawda A. Jallow paid tribute to Sandeng, describing him as “a man who paid the ultimate price in fighting for the cause he genuinely believed in.

“He has left an indelible mark in the political history of this country. His legacy will continue to live on in the history of our democratic transition as a nation,” the minister said.

Sandeng was later buried at the Dippa Kunda after the speeches and procession in Banjul.

“Solo Sandeng epitomizes a national hero for Gambians,” Muhammed Sandeng, Solo’s eldest stated at the funeral service.

Sandeng’s remains were exhumed by the State after the January 2017 ushering in a new era and end to brutal rule. After his remains were exhumed, a DNA was done on it and the results showed that the remains were that of Solo Sandeng. The remains were kept under the custody of the court until the end of the 5-year case.

Many Gambians including those from his former party (UDP) and his family gathered at the Arch 22 to show their respect to the late political activist.

Ebrima Solo Sandeng was the ring leader of the 14th April 2016 UDP demonstration and he died under the custody of national security agents. Over 30 witnesses testified in the trial for the prosecution and in the end, High court judge, Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara held six (6) operatives of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) responsible for Sandeng’s untimate death. The convicts are Yankuba Badjie (former director general), Sheikh Omar Jeng alias Sir Jeng (ex-deputy director of operations), Baboucar Sallah, Tamba Mansareh, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang (medic). The court freed Haruna Suso for lack of evidence to convict him on the murder and other charges. He went home free while the rest are serving their sentence.