By Abdoulie John 

President Yahya Jammeh is yet to respond to requests by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on the mysterious death of a Gambian union leader. Sheriff Dibba, the former Secretary  General of the Gambia National Transport Control Association, purportedly died after he had been tortured by state security agents. Dibba’s death had sparked angry response from international labour and trade unions, calling on the Gambia government to investigate into the death of a man who died in state custody.

“We sent a letter to the President [Yahya Jammeh] – so we are waiting for a reply from the Presidency,” ILO Spokesperson Hans von Rohland told this reporter in an email exchange.

In late January 2016, Gambian authorities banned Gambia National Transport Control Association (GNTCA) from “any involvement in the transportation sector in the country” after the union called on the government to reduce fuel prices since the value of crude oil keeps failing. Subsequently, executive members of the union were arrested and detained before being slapped with economic crime charge. Mr. Dibba died in mysterious circumstances few weeks after they were kept in state custody.

The government had failed to issue a statement on how Mr. Dibba died. After more than a month, Information Minister Sheriff Bojang reacted to media reports on the case. He dispelled the widely held belief that Dibba died of torture, insisting that he died of heart disease. “They (GNTCA members) never beaten or tortured,” he said in a statement widely circulated on social media.

But the head of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) insisted that several sources confirmed that Sheriff Dibba died of torture.  To make its voice heard, ITF has initiated an online petition which continues to gain momentum on the internet

President Yahya Jammeh has been ruling the Gambia with an iron-fist since he seized power in a military coup in July 1994. Activists said Mr. Jammeh’s more than two decade rule has been characterised by gross violations of human rights. These include crack down on media, civil society groups and political opponents.

Ends

2 Comments

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this section are the author's own and do not represent the editorial policy of Kairo News. Kairo News will trash any comment that inflames tribal, racial or religious hatred.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: