|Ghana's Foreign Minister. H. Tetteh|
The 44 Ghanaians killed by the Gambian security forces in July 2005 is still making news in Ghana, eleven years after one of the more heinous crimes committed by the tyrannical regime of Yaya Jammeh.
Following several years of denying that Ghanaians, who were mistaken for rebels coming to overthrow the Jammeh regime, had been apprehended and killed, a joint UN-ECOWAS team was formed to investigate the gruesome incident.
The fact that their findings exculpated the regime of Yaya Jammeh came as a big surprise. Equally surprising was that the report concluded that those murdered were victims of a scam by a captain Taylor and one Lamin Tunkara ( a Gambian accomplice) who were to transport the victims to Europe by sea.
While absolving Yaya Jammeh of blame for the murders, the reported indicated that rogue members of Jammeh's security forces took part in the crime which led both the Ghana government and relatives of those killed to demand compensation from Gambia.
As normal practice, the Jammeh regime plaid its cards very close to its chest and, once it was decided that families will be compensated by the regime, Jammeh never revealed the amount of compensation nor who will be compensated and by how much. Gambians have been kept in the dark, and so it appears, Ghanaians have also been kept in the dark based on reports from coming from Ghana.
According to ghanaweb.com, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of the Ghana Parliament is accusing government of spending monies meant for the families of the victims of the massacre of the 44 Ghanaians in The Gambia.
In response to the parliamentary query, Ghana's Foreign Minister revealed that of the $500,000 compensation money paid by the regime of Yaya Jammeh, only Chc 250,000 or approx. $ 70,000 remains undisbursed which has been lodged in government accounts. According to the Foreign Minister, only twenty seven families who could be identified from the investigation were compensated. What of the remaining families, representing half of all those whose loved ones were murdered?
Meanwhile, the Ghanaian opposition, families and the public at large continue to ask probing questions about what actually happened that fateful day around Brufut and Ghana Town in The Gambia where the bodies of the murdered victims' bodies were sprewn all over.
Perhaps it will be through the transparent process made possible by Ghanaian democracy that more light will be shed on one of the most heinous crimes ever committed on Gambian soil.