Coup mass grave found in Gambian barracks

APA-Banjul (The Gambia)

A team of forensic experts of the Gambia police in collaboration with the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission has uncovered a mass grave at a military barracks where victims of a foiled November 11 1994 coup are believed to have been buried.

The identities of the victims have not been established but it is suspected that the main suspects of the coup, Lt Basiru Barrow, Lt Abdoulie Dot Faal and Lt Gibril Saye may have been buried on the site. 

Tearful family members of the victims were present at the Yundum Barracks, 16 km outside Banjul on Wednesday to view the bones and other remains of seven purported soldiers killed shortly after an alleged coup was foiled 24 years ago by the military junta led by Yahya Jammeh.

The abortive putsch came barely four months after Jammeh, then a young lieutenant seized power in a bloodless coup. 

On display were skulls and bones along with military fatigues, a ring, some wires apparently used to tie the victims and decomposing underwears which suggest that the remains of the ill-fated coupists had been half naked when they were buried on the site.  

The lead forensic expert with the TRRC Thomas R,J, Gomez said it took the team two weeks to identify the mass grave and exhume the bodies, some of whose bones had decomposed. 

He said in the next few weeks, two other mass graves inside the barracks would be dug to exhume the remains of more soldiers thought to have been executed in connection with the failed coup of 1994.

The latest find appears to be consistent with testimonies by successive TRRC witnesses some of whom said that those accused of the mutiny were executed at a forest before their remains were transported back to the Yundum barracks where they were buried in mass graves. 

The other two sites are metres away from the uncovered mass grave. 


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