Soldier, Abdou Njie, confessing to killing students demonstrators at the TRRC today

A Gambian soldier has become the first security personnel to accept responsibility for the killings of April 10/11 students’ demonstrators. The killings were said to have happened in Brikama Ba, Upper River Region.

Abdou Njie, 49, told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission on Thursday that: “I killed them. I accept that I killed them. You know when tension is high it’s not nice for me to say that I kill them, but I killed them. I do not deny that I killed.”

The soldier added: “I cannot deny that I killed because I shot live bullets, but the way I did it, it’s the way I can narrate it.”

The students who were killed on the demonstration in Brikama Ba included Ousman Sabally and Sainey Nyabally and dozen of others were injured.

At the beginning of his testimony, he claimed before the Truth Commission that on April 10, 2000 he fired live bullets in the air after his rubber bullets ran out, adding that he later heard people say some students had been killed.

Mr. Njie said before they were deployed to counter the demonstrators, each of them were giving rubber and live bullets.

He said he fired over 31 live bullets, adding that each of the soldiers deployed at the protest was given over 30 live bullets.

However, he rejected the allegation that he was the only soldier that shot at the students, adding “all the soldiers on the demonstration ground in Brikama Ba had shot at the demonstrators”.

Mr. Njie said the students were throwing stones at them and setting tyres ablaze on the highway, but he said they were ordered to disperse the protesters.

It is 19 years since the tragedy of April 10/11 students’ demonstrations happened. The students were demanding justice for their colleague, Ebrima Barry, who died as a result of torture inflicted on him by personnel of the Gambia Fire Service.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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