Still Reeling From the Yahya Jammeh Years, Gambia Begins Its Journey to Justice

Still Reeling From the Yahya Jammeh Years, Gambia Begins Its Journey to Justice
Relatives of victims of the regime of former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh participate in a demonstration to demand information about what happened to their loved ones, Banjul, Gambia, April 17, 2018 (Photo by Jason Florio).

Nearly two years after Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh fled into exile, the transitional justice process is taking multiple forms. But as officials prepare for potential prosecutions and truth commission hearings, there are fears that their work could roil Gambian society, and that Jammeh could evade accountability.

BANJUL, Gambia—In July 2005, Martin Kyere, a 25-year-old shoe-seller from Kumasi, in northern Ghana, set off for what he hoped would be a better life in Europe. He took with him a small bag containing some clothes and biscuits, and $1,400 sewn into his underpants.

First he traveled to Dakar, the capital of Senegal, to find a smuggling agent to arrange the risky voyage to Spain via the Canary Islands, then the most common illegal migration route to Europe from West Africa. The plan was to travel by canoe from the Senegalese coast to a larger boat waiting for them in the Atlantic Ocean. He and around 55 other migrants—44 from Ghana and the rest from Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire—set off from the town of Saly at night, but they lost contact with the captain of the boat and ended up straying into neighboring Gambia.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review