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GAMBIA-L  May 2000

GAMBIA-L May 2000

Subject:

My son was beaten to near death - From The Independent

From:

MOMODOU BUHARRY GASSAMA <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The Gambia and related-issues mailing list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 10 May 2000 23:24:51 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (39 lines)

      My son was beaten to near death 
        Distressed Farafenni mother alleges 

      Soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Gambia National Army stationed in Farafenni have been accused by Farafenni residents of 'trespass, torture, and intimidation' during last month's student demonstrations. 

      Fatou Jarjue, mother of one Lamin Camara, an 18-year-old grade 11 student of Farafenni Senior Secondary School, told The Independent that her son, was forcibly taken away from their home by soldiers who allegedly beat him to near death. Lamin is currently receiving treatment from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Banjul. 

      Mrs. Jarjue claimed that armed soldiers forcibly entered her compound and fired three gunshots, threatening the lives of her entire family. 

      She explained that during the student demonstration in Farafenni on Tuesday 11 th April, soldiers ran past her compound but later came back, knocking on the compound gate which she said was locked at the time.  She said that after continuous knocking, the family came out and asked the soldiers what the problem was.  Mrs. Jarjue said it was around mid-day and the armed soldiers 'insisted that the gate must be opened and they forcibly entered the compound and fired three shots while inside.'  

      She said five armed soldiers then conducted a search of the compound. She said her son, who was found taking a bath, was arrested when they discovered that he was a student.  

      Mrs. Jarjue said that her son was an afternoon shift student and was not out in the street during the morning of the demonstrations. She said that prior to the demonstrations, Lamin's father had made a phone call from Banjul warning his family to stay indoors since the student unrest was believed to be spreading to the provinces. 

      She said the entire house was 'ransacked by the armed soldiers and all my son's school books were thrown away'. According to Mrs. Jarjue the soldiers started 'hitting and knocking' her son, adding that even when Lamin fell, the soldiers violently stamped on him. She said Lamin was later dragged away 'naked with only his underpants.'  

      Mrs. Jarjue said she tried to explain to the soldiers without success that her son was innocent. According to her, a female soldier who said she was 'acting on orders' attacked her at gunpoint.  She further intimated that she was able to identify the five soldiers present at the time. 

      She said Lamin was clearly injured by the attack but despite his 'grave' condition was then taken to the military barracks. She said he was later admitted at the Farafenni hospital.  

      According to a doctor's report, Lamin was diagnosed with 'gastric bleeding and palatrauma', and was admitted 'on account of vomiting and hamateamises fever.' 

      A referral form from the Department of State for Health showed that Lamin was referred to Banjul for further examination when he started bleeding from both the nose and mouth.  According to the referral report, Lamin's condition improved 'but he started bleeding again through the mouth and nose and was again referred to the RVH.' 

      Up to press time Friday, Lamin was still in Banjul receiving treatment and awaiting X-ray examination. 

      Lamin's father, an ex-soldier, expressed dismay over the incident and said that prior to the demonstration, he had advised his family 'not to move an inch from the compound.' He said he was totally disappointed that armed soldiers 'forcibly ransacked' his compound.  He also disclosed that the three bullets allegedly fired by the soldiers inside his compound have been found, adding that two of them were blanks while the third was a live bullet. 

      Meanwhile, Captain Baboucarr Keita, the officer commanding the 2nd Infantry Battalion in Farafenni, has told the Coroner's Inquest that his men used live ammunition during the student demonstration. 
      

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