AKJ Calls on Gov’t to Declare April 10/11 National School Holidays

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Abdou Karim Jammeh (AKJ), a victim of the April 2000 student protest,

Abdou Karim Jammeh (AKJ), a victim of the April 2000 student protest, has renewed calls on the Gambian Government to declare the 10th and 11th of April as national holidays for all schools across the country, arguing that the situation of victims of the student protest remains the same without adequate support to rebuild their lives.

He made this observation on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of the nationwide student protest that claimed the lives of more than a dozen students, including a minor and journalist after security forces fired live rounds on student protesters.

“I call on the Barrow government through the minister of Basic and Secondary Education to declare April 10 and 11 a national school holiday in remembrance of our colleagues who were killed callously by security officers at the orders of Yahya Jammeh. This is 23 years since the massacre of innocent Gambian students, and the only way to keep remembering them is to set aside April ten and 11th as nationwide school holidays,” AKJ told TAT.

He added: “It’s miserable that we have been making the same call for seven (7) years since the coming of Barrow to power, but Government has failed to honor our call. So, as we mark the day, we are renewing our call on Government to declare these two important dates as nationwide school holidays to remember our fallen heroes.”

According to him, the current administration has not taken any bold steps to address the plight of the April 10th and 11th victims, many of whom, he said, are still suffering from gunshot wounds and other traumatic situations, adding that the most disappointing part is the lack of closure for victims of the student protest.

AKJ said Government and the parliament should do more to ensure closure for the numerous victims of April 10th and 11th.

“We are disappointed with our parliamentarians, especially fellow victims who are now legislators and are not showing any signs of seriousness in trying to get rid of the two draconian laws of the public order act and the Indemnity Act. I urge the minister of education to make sure by next April, all the schools in the Gambia observe this day as the most important day of school history because the students should be told the number of violations that happened to their colleagues on this day,” AKJ disclosed.

He added: “We also call on the minister of justice to engage the parliament to abolish these two acts and other bad laws still embedded in our constitution. We also express our total disappointment with the Government for absorbing and re-instating perpetrators of the former regime into governance at the behest of the victims.”

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