Friday, August 29, 2008

Mahama: Break Diplomatic ties with Gambia

The National Democratic Congress vice presidential candidate, Hon. John Mahama has called for a break in diplomatic ties with The Gambia over the killing of 44 Ghanaians in 2005.

"Ghana is not putting enough pressure, if these were other young men from other countries, Gambia would have been compelled to take action by now. The first step would have been to recall our ambassador, close our mission, and break diplomatic ties with them."

John Mahama said this in a telephone interview with Joy news' Araba Koomson from South Africa where he is currently attending committee meetings of the Pan African Parliament.

He said an NDC government would take resolute action to seek justice for the victims.

Asked what his party will do differently to get the cooperation from the Gambian government, John Mahama said Ghana has treated Gambia with "kid gloves" for far too long and "If you continue to dine and wine with them you are not going to get their cooperation," He added.

Currently, a UN/ECOWAS fact-finding mission is heading to The Gambia to investigate the matter.

The team made up of representatives each of the governments of Ghana and The Gambia and headed by UN advisor Curtis Ward, will present its report in October this year.

But the vice presidential candidate said a larger team would have been more meaningful for the expected investigation.

A survivor of the brutal killings, Martin Kyere, 30, has told of how security operatives rounded them up (mostly West African nationals) after their attempts to relocate to Europe failed, accusing them of plotting to overthrow the government of Yahya Jammeh.

He said they were bundled into military vehicles guarded by heavily armed soldiers and driven far into the countryside where they were hacked, battered or sprayed with bullets.

He attributed his escape to divine intervention and said he believed God wanted him to bear witness to the crime.


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