1000’s of individuals turned out within the Gambian capital on Tuesday for the official funeral of a pro-democracy activist who died in custody in 2016 following a protest towards former dictator Yahya Jammeh.
Mourners lined the streets of Banjul as police handed by carrying the flag-draped coffin of Solo Sandeng, in a ceremony that revived recollections of Jammeh’s brutal rule.
The dictator held sway over the tiny West African state for 22 years till he was defeated in presidential elections in December 2016 by political newcomer Adama Barrow and fled to Equatorial Guinea.
Sandeng died in custody in April 2016 on the age of 57 after organising a protest calling for the return of democracy.
His demise was a catalyst for uniting the nation’s fractured opposition and driving a wave of pro-democracy protests which finally led to Jammeh’s fall.
Justice Minister Dawda Jallow paid tribute to Sandeng, describing him as “a person who paid the final word value in preventing for the trigger he genuinely believed in.
“He has left an indelible mark within the political historical past of this nation.
“His legacy will proceed to reside on within the historical past of our democratic transition as a nation.”
The coffin was positioned earlier than an enormous Greek-style arch in Banjul that Jammeh constructed within the Nineties and which has been re-dedicated to the reminiscence of his victims. Sandeng was later entombed at a web site within the suburbs of the capital.
His physique was exhumed in March 2017. Six members of Jammeh’s Nationwide Intelligence Company (NIA) have been convicted of his homicide in July 2022, with the company’s former director being sentenced to demise.
The Gambian authorities have charged Jammeh with homicide, rape, torture and corruption.
Nonetheless, he retains substantial clout again dwelling.
Barrow’s authorities, which received elections in 2016 and once more in 2021, has but to completely implement suggestions made by a fact and reconciliation fee in in 2021.
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