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WAVE Gambia Engages Victims and Authorities on Kerr Mot Ali “Deportation”

By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT

Day One – Jangjangbureh

Gambian Civil Society Organisation Women’s Association for Victim Empowerment (WAVE) started a three-day engagement with victims of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) and authorities on the Kerr Mott Ali saga which has seen numerous members of the Ndiggal Sect deported from their home town.

The first engagement took place at the Governor’s Office in Janjanbureh with the second engagement to take place in the next two days at Nyaw and Panchang.

Since 2009, during the regime of former President Yahya Jammeh, various religious sects such as the Ahmadiyya and Ndiggal were persecuted for practising their religion.

The Government White Paper on the TRRC states that “President Jammeh issued Executive directives authorising the infringement of the rights of religious groups and communities including the Ahmadiyya Jamaat and the Ndigal Sect of Kerr Mot Ali”.

The White Paper adds that “the Commission also found that the removal of members of the Ndiggal Sect from Kerr Mot Ali, who were forced to resettle in Senegal amounts to deportation. This is contrary to international human rights law and criminalised in the Rome Statute which is applicable in The Gambia”.

The meeting held today at the Janjanbureh Governors Office saw approximately 37 people including representatives of the Ndiggal Sect, Deputy Governor, Religious and Traditional Leaders, NHRC, Police, Immigration Officers, and Army from the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) which advises the governors.

The meeting is the first step toward engaging various stakeholders to ensure that the TRRC Recommendations can be implemented in a peaceful environment.

Today members of the Ndiggal Sect have been ostracised from their community, and properties and land seized forcing them to seek refuge elsewhere. Their children have been denied access to education, pregnant women struggle to access health care and many others are denied from accessing land to farm and engage in gainful employment.

Below is a link to the live stream of the first event at Jangjangbureh.

WAVE Gambia with support from the National Endowment for Democracy is holding “Peace Talks for Peace Building” at Njau with representatives of the Ndiggal Sect.

This is the second meeting in this three-day mission to create the enabling environment required to ensure the safe return of Gambians deported from the Gambia to Kerr Mott Ali Senegal.

The TRRC Report recommended the court judgement issued in 2018 for the persecuted members of the Ndiggal Sect to be reinstated their land and properties and to be accorded the right guaranteed in the 1997 Constitution.

Present at the engagement is the Cheif of Njau Demba Sey alongside local elders and members of the community together with the former TRRC Commissioner Imam Sey, WAVE Representatives and Representatives from the Nhrc Gambia, Gambia Participates, ICTJ and the National Endowment for Democracy.

The greetings and introductions have all been done and the dialogue is about to begin. Watch the live coverage on Gainako Online Newspaper Facebook Page. Here are some images from the event.

Below is a link to the live stream of the second event at Njau.

Day 3 – Panchang

The third and final day of the “Peace Talks for Peace Building” organised by WAVE Gambia started at Panchang in Upper Saloum where the local community including Chief Demba Sey of Upper Saloum, Imam Omar Sey the former TRRC Commissioner, members of Kerr Mott Ali, the NHRC Gambia, the Office of National Security amongst others were in attendance.

During the dialogue, the various government positions on the Kerr Mott Ali saga were discussed including the court ruling that the “deported” Gambians from Kerr Mott Ali Gambia that have taken refuge should be allowed to return home. The TRRC recommendation reiterating the court judgement was also discussed together with the Government’s White Paper which also supports the TRRC Recommendation.

Most importantly the Government White Paper calls for peacebuilding and social cohesion to create a peaceful environment to implement the recommendation.

The environment was full of life and ambience as the women of Panchang sang and danced to the news of the imminent return of their neighbours who are currently seeking refuge in Kerr Mott Ali Senegal. They pledged to support the peace-building process to facilitate their safe return.

The day concluded with a visit to Kerr Mott Ali Senegal where a debriefing meeting was held with the community. If peace talks continue as envisaged the people who currently occupy Kerr Mott Ali Gambia will be engaged and a follow-up “Peace Building Talks” will be held between them and the Gambians deported from Kerr Mott Ali Gambia.

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