Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou has handed over the remains of former soldiers who were killed in a coup plot against former ruler Yahya Jammeh on December 30, 2014.
Lt.Col Lamin Sanneh, a former presidential guard under Jammeh and Cpt. Njaga Jagne and Alhagie Jaja Nyass, both former U.S. soldiers of Gambian descent, were killed during the attack and kept at the mortuary in Banjul for more than 5 months.
Others who escaped left the country while the three dead bodies were later buried at a firing range in Tintinto, a small settlement near Jammeh’s village Kanilai.
Following Jammeh’s December 2016 election defeat, the new Government exhumed the bodies through the help of international partners.
While handing the remains to families in Banjul on Wednesday, Gambia’s Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said the exhumation is part of government’s commitment in upholding human rights of its citizenry.
“Every human being deserve a befitting burial regardless of the circumstances under which they died,” said Minister Tambadou.
Former Gambian leader has been accused of several human rights violations and until today there are several disappeared victims of his oppression whose whereabouts are not known.
The representatives of the families of the dead soldiers who collected their DNA certificates have urged government to intensify efforts at uncovering other hidden graves to bring closure to other families.
Gambian activists described the soldiers as national “heroes”.
“The 30th December event was the catalyst that gave courage, inspiration and unity for us to fight for change,” said Retired Colonel Ndow Njie.