Gambia: Deaths of activists jailed by Jammeh raises fear of “foul play”

Gambians have raised suspicion about the circumstances of the deaths of opposition protesters arrested and jailed by former dictator Yahya Jammeh.


Jammeh lost election but claims the polls were tainted with “unacceptable irregularities” and refused to step down. He was later persuaded by the ECOWAS mediators led by Guinea’s Alpha Conde. He now lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea

A Gambian journalist and opposition activist, Ebrima Ceesay, has died on Thursday barely two months after he was released from Jailed.

Cessay has been arrested with host of United Democratic Party members on April 14 in a demonstration led by Solo Sandeng who was reportedly tortured to death in state custody.

Two other UDP members died since their release following a change of regime in the country.

Solo’s remains were exhumed weeks ago and there are currently 9 former agents of Jammeh’s feared National Intelligence Agency being tried for his allege murder.

Ceesay who is a son of Madi Ceesay, a veteran Gambian journalists and now a National Assembly member, writes for his father’s online news portal, the Daily News.

Ceesay lost a couple of his teeth to a knock on his head while he was in state custody but he has not sustained any major bodily harm.

However, he became the third of the opposition activists arrested on April 14 who died after they were released from state custody, raising questions over what Jammeh and his secret agents might have done to them.

“Janko was arrested on April 14 last year with the late Solo Sandeng and co. I hope the families, if not the state, take their people to hospitals for extensive medical checkups. One too many folks died in or upon release from the Mile 2 prisons,” a UDP social media activist, Pata PJ, has written on his timeline.

There were unconfirmed reports that the arrested protesters were injected with vinegar.

The UDP has not make any statement on this poisoning claims but the party has issued a statement while their executives members were all in jail that they got intel that Jammeh was planning to kill them through poisoning.

The party members in diaspora alleged in a statement that Ousman Sonko, Jammeh’s longest serving interior minister was sent to purchase the said chemical from Russia.

They claimed the chemical in question is designed to take effect long after it is administered.

Ebrima Janko Ceesay

Ebrima Janko Ceesay, in his early 30s, died today morning. Picture: Kairo News

Following the arrest of the UDP protesters, the ousted Gambian tyrant did vowed to neutralize all those who were instigating violence, apparently referring to the protesters.

He reacted to a UN call for him to investigate the death in custody of Sandeng, saying “only one dogs dies and they want me to investigate”.

Jammeh who is accused of 10s of unsolved murders in the small nation of less than 2 million people is known for calling his political opponents as “vermins” and “elements of western powers”.

Ebrima’s family did said he is an asthma patient and he might have died as a result of that.


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