By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
This April 2017 will be the 17th anniversary of the student demonstration of April 2000 which was violently suppressed by Gambian security forces, leaving more than 14 young students killed by bullets and several others injured, some maimed for the rest of their lives.
This reporter reached out to the National Youth Council (NYC) and sought out the position of the youth on this tragedy that will forever live to linger in the minds of not just the relatives of the victims but the Gambian youths at large.
The Director of the NYC, Mr. Lamin Darboe, said April 10th and 11th has been part of the days of our country’s history, saying they are days we cannot just forget about. He remarked, “It’s a day we need to reflect and ponder on to know what has gone wrong and what we have to do in moving forward”.
He said the society that we were living in does not permit people to articulate and express their feelings as it should be and that led to the unfortunate April 10th and 11th incident.
He added, “What young people demand for was not the moon, all they demand for was justice and that justice is what we will continue to call for”.
He said this clarion call will continue to surface until the truth and justice are established in the case of those young people who were brutalized and others seriously injured.
The director said the Council is putting in plans with its members and partners to unprecedentedly commemorate this year’s anniversary of the incident.
He said the fact that they were not marking it in public during Jammeh’s time doesn’t mean that people were not remembering the victims of April 10 and 11.
He said, “We are asking for justice but we also want to know the truth. The incident has gone to a level that people don’t want to talk about it.”
This, he added, is because of the former government’s crude reaction to the critics and advocacies on the matter.
He said young people expected better from the government than what they have witnessed in April 10 and 11.