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Gambia To Compensate Murdered Ghanaians   
 
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02-Jul-2009  
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The families of six Ghanaians killed in The Gambia are to be given monetary compensation, according to an agreement reached between The Gambian President Yahyah Jammeh and the President of Ghana, John Mills.

The two reached the agreement Thursday in Libya where they are attending the ongoing AU Summit.The full details of the compensation agreement are yet to be known.

However Ghana’s Information Minister, Zita Okaikwei tells Citi News it will certainly involve some amount of money given to the families of the victims.A statement signed by the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the two countries and witnessed by representatives of ECOWAS and the UN, said the two countries agreed that the perpetrators of the killing be arrested and prosecuted. They also agreed that the bodies of the six be exhumed and repatriated back home for proper burial.


It was however agreed that The Gambia should not be held directly or indirectly responsible for the killing of the six alongside other West African nationals who died or disappeared. Both countries have also pledged to fight against human trafficking to avert such heinous deaths in the future. Ms Okaikwei told Citi News that the Ghanaian Government tried negotiating with the Gambian Government to accept responsibility they refused to accept the responsibility. “We were trying to negotiate with the Gambian Government to accept responsibility but they said that they were not directly responsibility for the murder of the Ghanaians.


But our argument was that since the death occurred on Gambian soil, the Gambian government was responsible for those Ghanaians and so they needed to show some remorse and apologise to Ghana and to the bereaved families.” She said Forty four Ghanaians were originally thought to have been killed in The Gambia in 2005. But a joint UN-ECOWAS fact finding team identified only six of the victims as Ghanaians. The others are considered disappeared.
 



Below is a full text of the statement

STATEMENT ON THE MINISTERIAL MEETING ON THE REPORT OF THE JOINT UNITED - NATIONS ECOWAS FACT FINDING TEAM ON THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE DEATH AND DISSAPPEARNCES OF GHANAIAN NATIONALS.

On April 14 2008, the joint UN-ECOWAS fact finding team was established at the request of the governments of the Gambia and Ghana to facilitate efforts by both government to bring about the peaceful resolution of the above mentioned matters consistent on with the principles of justice and respect for human rights and human dignity

• On May 11, 2009 delegations from the two countries, represented by the ministers of foreign affairs, interior and justice of the Gambia and Ministers and Interior of Ghana met at the Headquarters of the ECOWAS commission, Abuja, under the facilitation of the UN and ECOWAS.

• Following a review and discussion on the finding of the fact –finding team, the government of Ghana and the Gambia re-affirmed their commitment to strengthen their traditionally cordial bilateral relations and agreed to following;


• Both Governments extended their condolences to the families of those confirmed dead. They agreed that the two Governments would cooperate in the exhumation and repatriation of their bodies to their families in Ghana so that they would be given befitting traditional burials.


• Constituent with the finding of fact –finding team, the two parties acknowledge that the government of the Gambia is not directly or indirectly complicit in the deaths and disappearances of the Ghanaian nationals concerned .nonetheless, the Gambia government agreed to make contributions to families of the six Ghanaians found dead in its territory, in conformity with African traditional values shared by both countries.


• Both ideas pledged to pursue, through all available means the arrest and prosecution of all those involved in the death and disappearances of the Ghanaians concerned and other ECOWAS nationals, especially those identified as culprits in the report. Both countries agreed also to follow up on any future leads in the cases of those suspected missing.


• In recognition of the discovery that these Ghanaians and other ECOWAS nationals were victims of a human trafficking scam, and because of the regional dimension of the problem, both governments called on ECOWAS Member States to intensify efforts to identify and punish known traffickers with the support of the international community. The two Governments commend the facilitation of the UN and ECOWAS and the work of the Fact–Finding Team.


They express optimism that the finding of the report and the implementation of the decision of their meeting will help to restore and strengthen the traditionally cordial bilateral relations between the countries.
 
Source: Citifm
 
 

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