By Nelson Manneh
The Alkalo of Ghana Town, Ismaila Jagne, has on Wednesday 10th March 2021 informed the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) that one of the dead bodies found in the forest in Brufut had Ghanaian tribal mark.
Jagne, who ones lived in Ghana, said many Ghanaians have tribal marks on their face.
He recalled one day in the afternoon while he was on his way back from prayers, he was told that a police officer was asking for him and he should report to the Police Station.
“When I went to the Police Station, I was told that there were dead bodies at Ghana Town forest and I was asked to go and see whether I will be able to identify any of them. We went to the forest and I saw the eight dead bodies, but I could not identify any of them. But looking at the dead bodies, I saw one with Ghanaian tribal mark on the face,” he said.
He said some of the bodies were bleeding and blood was oozing from their noses and mouths. He said he didn’t observe them that much, but noticed they were bleeding.
“I am convinced that those people were Ghanaians because I saw Ghanaian tribal marks on their bodies,” he said.
The witness said when he came home; he called the Ghana Town community chairman and informed him about the dead bodies.
Jagne said in July 2005, some people from the community of Brufut Ghana Town brought a man to his compound who they said was asking for Ghana Town.
“When they brought this man to my house, the man was speaking a foreign language and I called some elders in the community to my house,” he said.
Jagne said the man told him they were Ghanaians from Senegal and they were on a journey to Europe through the back way. He said the man said they were many and they took a boat from Senegal and came to The Gambia in order to join a ship to Europe.
He said the man told him that when they arrived at a place in The Gambia where they don’t know, police officers apprehended them and started questioning them. He added the man said an officer took them to another place “in a big hall.” He said at the ‘big hall’, officers started putting on black uniforms and put ten of them in a pickup.
“He told me that they were many, some of them were Ghanaians, Nigerians, Senegalese and other nationalities,” he said.
Jagne said the man told him that they took them into a forest and when they reached the forest, the officers started to remove them from the vehicle in two. He said whenever they take two those two people will not come back. The witness said the Ghanaian man told him that one of the migrants was strong and when they were left with one officer to guard them, the strong man attacked the officer and they all scattered and ran away. He said the Ghanaian man said he ran towards the beach and came across boats around Ghana Town landing side.
Jagne said the boys who brought the man to him were Ghanaians living in Ghana Town. He said while he was talking to the first migrant who was brought to him, the boys brought another man who he was told was part of the migrants. He said the second man narrated that when he escaped from the pickup, he ran away and saw some men who asked him where he came from and he told them that he was from Ghana and he was directed to Ghana Town.
“When these two guys met inside my house they both cried, but they don’t tell me why they were crying,” he said.
Jagne said the second man’s narration was the same as that of the first man. “Then we decided to give them food and asked them to rest because they were tired.”
He said after his engagement with them, he called the chairman of Ghana Town executive community who told him that he will call the Ghanaian Counselor.
Testifying further, he added: “We took these two people to the Police Station alive and after that, I did not hear anything about them. On that same day in the evening, we went to check on them at the Police Station, but the police officers on duty told us that they were taken away,” he said.
Jagne said when the former Ghana Foreign Minister, who is the current President of Ghana, visited Ghana Town Police Station, he was invited and he narrated everything to the Ghanaian Foreign Minister and the police officers at the Station told them that they have released them.
Born on 10th May 1963 in Brufut, Jangne did his primary school at Brufut and after completing his lower basic school, he went to Ghana but could not complete his education there because his father died and he had to come back. He said his trade is fishing and when his father died in 2004, he became an Alkalo of their community.