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Bring to justice the killers of Kasim Kanji of Lamin village

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The African President who claims to have discovered the cure for HIV/AIDS and who also threatens to chop-off the heads of gays and lesbians.

The brutal regime of President Yaya Jammeh of The Gambia has struck once more. This time, a young man by the name of Kasim Kanyi of Lamin village, The Gambia, West Africa.

Kasim Kanji was reportedly riding his bicycle on the off-track dirt road, and away from the main thoroughfare, near his home village where the presidential motorcade of Yahya Jammeh was to travel. He was reportedly stopped by a policeman and asked if he was aware that the presidential convoy of was to travel the same road.

Young Kasim either had no idea that the presidential convoy will be passing through his village, or it would not have mattered to him since he was using the dirt road, and away from the main road and therefore not obstructing traffic. He responded, all the same, that he was unaware that the presidential convoy will be passing through the same road and only road leading to and from his village.

As he was responding to the police officer’s questions, suddenly, according to eyewitness accounts, a truck-load of military personnel stopped and asked the policeman why the kid was on the presidential route, ostensibly obstructing the convoy.

Instead of issuing a simple order to move off the road by the wave of the hand – after all, The Gambia is a police state, and everyone, including young Kasim, is well aware of this fact - the soldiers loaded young Kasim onto their truck and sped off to an unknown location where he was reportedly tortured, his neck broken and beating about the head, revealing deep lacerations. This is according to the autopsy later performed to the body at the main hospital in the capital of Banjul.

Kasim's lifeless body was returned and dumped by the road-side, meters from the police station, ending the life of yet another young Gambian. The trauma young Kasim must have endured prior to his death must have been unimaginable. The autopsy report confirmed that young Kasim’s neck was broken (the regime’s preferred method of killing opponents ) with severe lacerations on his head.

In 2001, the same brutality was on display when the security forces gunned down more than a dozen unarmed school children whose only crime was to peacefully demonstrate against the torture, rape and murder of two of their colleagues that had occurred days before, at the hands of the same security forces who prey on the civilian population, particularly the young.

This regime targets children to keep parents and grown-ups in check.

Before handing over the body, the police tried to force the parents of Kasim to sign a declarative statement absolving the culprits of blame. Karim’s parents refused to sign the statement as every good parent and responsible citizen should.

A standard operating procedure of the police and other arms of the security forces is to force citizens into signing statements of this nature. In this instance, they did not succeed.

These cowardly acts of violence, by an equally cowardly personal security detail of President Yaya Jammeh, are frequent and they have always gone unpunished.

The freedom and democracy-loving people of The Gambia join the family of Kasim Kanyi in demanding justice for their son.

We demand that this case be fully investigated, culprits identified, prosecuted before a court of law.

We also demand an end to the violence against the civilian population, and an end to the dictatorship in The Gambia.

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