I am a brother and a concerned Gambian citizen. It has been 22 years since the disappearance and murder of my brother and family member, Lt. Gibril Saye. He was only 29 when his life was cut short.
I as a younger brother and now living out of the Gambia thank GOD, believe I owe him something as a blood brother and that is to speak for him for the injustice that is been done to him. I have lived with guilt for all these years and not saying a word. Blood is thicker than water and I decided I have had it; I have to speak out and tell the world what happened.
My brother’s story is not a new story, the whole Gambia probably knew about it.
You are fully aware of the encounter between my father and the government about the whereabouts of his son Lt. Gibril Saye in November of 1994 and the lies from your government spokesperson Sadibu Hydara who end up dying like a pig in your custody.
It was a story covered by the Point and Daily Observer newspapers in Gambia, and the family did not get and answers until today.
I was in my fifth year with the Gendarmerie at the time and had to quit the job for my own safety, and it would have been suicidal for me at that time to pick up a gun and said I have to revenge my brother’s death. There are many other ways to fight for justice and one good way is to speak against injustice.
This is a new chapter of the old story and the new chapter is the pursue for answers, and we the Saye family will never give up until we get one or if we can’t, his children or someone who really believe in justice and freedom for all will continue fighting for injustice in society.
For those who never heard or knew about Lieutenant Gibril Saye’s disappearance, this is what happened; he was a father of two at the time and was living with his family in Fajikunda. His oldest son was four years old and the youngest was just a week old. Can you imagine a 26 and a 22 year old today that have no idea who their dad is and have not shared any real memories together? But thank God his family was there for his children and we took good care of them.
Whenever I think of it, it hurts me so bad, and knowing that there is nothing I can do about it hurts me more.
He gets picked up every morning to go to work at the Yundum barracks, but on that morning of November 11 1994, the vehicle from the barracks did not show up, there has been some unrest at the military barracks in the early hours of November 11 which some claim was a failed coup led by Sana Sabally. He tries to get in touch with the barracks but could not reach anyone, so he decided to ask a friend for ride to Banjul’nding where my dad lives. He stopped by to tell dad that he is on his way to work and he had learned about the unrest at the military barracks and the vehicle that picks him up did not show up.
He left my dad’s house and went to the Yundum police Station and according to eye witnesses at the police station that morning; he got a ride to Yundum barracks. This was the last time his family laid eyes on him.
When he didn’t return home that day, the family begin to worry.
My dad went to the Yundum barracks that evening to inquire about him but only to be told, the officers are in a meeting and they will go home as soon as the meeting is over. I believe he was arrested and detained with some other officers and soldiers and later executed. Why, How, when and where remains the question for my family and other families.
My brother did not return home that day the following morning my father went back to the barracks to inquire again about his son. Again he was lied to by guards at the gate that Lt. Saye is detained for questioning following the previous night’s incident.
My father went back home and waited patiently to hear from his son or know what is happening with him but did not get any information and that begins to worry everyone. No one ever thought what happened will ever happen in Gambia. Someone show up at work and they never return home! This is exactly what happened.
The whole situation became frustrating, when your son goes missing and no one can tell you the reality about what happened, they all lie about it and try to cover their horrible actions against humanity.
My father decided to go to the media with my sister and make headlines. They went to the Point newspaper and the story was published on Monday November 28th 1994 on the front page which says; WHERE IS OUR SON LT. GIBRIL SAYE? With his photo and that of my father and sister.
After my father and sister went to the press and made headlines, the government defends their brutal and cowardly acts responding to my father’s inquiry saying, Lt. SAYE DIED IN SHOOT OUT, which was carried on the front page of the government control newspaper Daily Observer on December 2nd 1994.
This was the biggest lie ever to cover an execution from the then government spokesperson Sadibu Hydara who ends up dying like a pig in prison under Yaya Jammmeh’s custody.
How can Lt. Saye who was seen by eye witnesses that morning of November 11, 1994 leaving his house on his way to work, made a stop by his dad and was seen again at the Yundum police station where he was given a ride to the barracks was killed in shoot out in the early hours of the same day?
The government’s story makes no sense, and why wait more than three weeks to say he died in a coup plot and not the same day?
It’s been 22 years of silence, hardship and heartache for my family and other families and I say enough is enough! My brother and many Gambians that had their lives senselessly taken by you and your brutal gang of murderers from 1994 to date, deserve a voice and deserve closure and I decided I am going to do them this favor, to speak out for them and let the world see, hear or know the suffering the Gambian people are going through in your corrupt and dictatorship regime.
We are sick and tired of the abuse, the killing and the disappearing of our loved ones.
Gambia should belong to the Gambian people and not one individual who dictate how the people should live their lives. That is disgusting!
You can forgive but you can’t forget, but in my brother’s case, the Saye family doesn’t forgive and we will never forget until justice is done!!
Anyone who has a hand in his execution should know they have his blood on them and will never get it off until they answer for what they did. God is watching and he never hurries!
I decided I just can’t sit on the sidelines and watch anymore letting you treats Gambians like animals; even animals are not treated like this anymore, they are kept in zoos well taken care of, while Gambians are arrested, tortured, locked in prison for simply exercising their constitutional rights, some unfortunately murdered and some sent on exile all because of fear of persecution. What is that?
You have continuously denied Gambians the freedom to express themselves and to assemble and protest peacefully which should be a constitutional right for all human all over the world.
The Gambia belongs to Gambians and not a dictator like you. You have to understand that history repeats itself and one day all the atrocities you are doing to Gambians will come back to haunt you and only then you will begin to regret and it will late.
You have torn families apart, their breadwinners taken away from them leaving them to struggle day after day trying to make ends meet. Do you think you will get away with those horrible crimes unpunished? Only if there is no God!
Look at the Gambians youths. They are leaving the country in record numbers as if the country is in war. All because of hardship and suffering, risking their lives taking the back way to Europe, some end up drowning in the Mediterranean sea, all because their country is failing them and they don’t see any future in the country.
We don’t have the physical means and capability to stand in front of a dictator and challenge them, we wish we do, but we can speak out to let the world know that Gambians are concerned with what is going on in our beloved country and to also let you know that one day things will change and you should prepare yourself for that day!!
A concerned brother and citizen