6 Years: The Trauma of A Long Wait- Solo Sandeng’s Family Slams Gambia’s Justice System Ahead of His Burial

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The Late Solo Sandeng

By: Foday Manneh

The family of late Solo Sandeng has criticized the Gambia’s justice system for delaying their wish to offer their Father a befitting burial for six long years, ahead of the funeral of the slain political activist scheduled for Tuesday, January 10, 2023.

Mr. Sandeng was highly regarded as a national hero following his killing in the service of the Gambian people on April 14, 2016, after he led a peaceful protest for electoral reforms a few months before the former dictatorial regime was removed in the same year.

In 2017, the body of Solo was exhumed to serve as evidence in the NIA 9 trial of ex-state operatives involved in his murder.

The trial, which ended in July 2022, six years after his death, ruled that the former intelligence and NIA Director Yankuba Badgie and four others from the defunct National Intelligence Agency, now called State Intelligence Service “SIS,” be sentenced to life imprisonment for his killing.

Mr. Sandeng’s remains will be released from custody and given to his family for an official funeral and befitting burial on Tuesday, January 10, 2023, 6 years after his death, in the hands of state operatives.

Reacting ahead of the critical day for the Sandeng family and Gambian population, Aminata Sandeng, a daughter of the deceased, described their long wait as “traumatic” to her family, blaming the delay on the justice system.

“Anytime I go to Banjul and pass by the mortuary, I get a reminder that my Father is lying down here. That alone is a trauma,” Aminata said.

“We are happy justice has been served in our Father’s case, but we waited for six years to see that which should not have happened. The justice system in The Gambia is indigent and should be different from that. I think the authorities should work on that,” She stressed.

Aminata urged and called for justice in the case of all victims of the former regime of Yahya Jammeh.

“Losing a parent is very hard for everyone, so it has been tough and very emotional, but we thank God we are going to bury our Father tomorrow. At least the family will have closure,” she expressed.

“It is satisfactory that justice has been finally served in his case, but we hope to see all perpetrators, like his case, brought to justice,” Aminata appealed.

Solo’s Son, Muhammed Sandeng, described their Father as an extraordinary, passionate, and caring man who loved his children unconditionally and prioritized their welfare and progress.

“We came to terms with Allah’s will a long time ago and what we need to do to continue his legacy by serving our people,” Muhammed said.

“We will continue to advocate for good governance, to live by our democratic values, and preach tolerance. That is our Father’s legacy,” he added.

Mr. Solo Sandeng would be remembered for his patriotism, bravery, resilience, and, most importantly, the legacy of courage to selflessly defend the democratic values he exemplifies for Gambians.

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