His Excellency, Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia on Thursday, 5 July, 2018, presided over the swearing-in of the Chairman and members of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Faraba Bantang incident at a ceremony held at the State House in Banjul.
The Commissioners have been appointed to look into the circumstances leading to the standoff between the community of Faraba Bantang and the Police Intervention Unit, as well as identify those responsible for the deaths, including those who may have ordered the firings and those who fired the shots. Additionally, they are expected to recommend measures to prevent a recurrence of the incident in Faraba Bantang and other parts of the country.
After the commissioners took the prescribed oaths of office and secrecy, President Barrow congratulated and expressed optimism that they are equal to the task while maintaining that he has a high level of confidence in their competence, integrity and experience.
“I am confident that, guided by your level of competence, integrity and experience, you will get to the bottom of the event and submit an impartial report for peace and justice to prevail. It is important also for us to make sure that appropriate action is taken so that such incidents do not recur in the country,” he indicated.
He added that the Faraba incident was a test to our collective resolve to consolidate democracy, good governance, and human rights. But was quick to note that the government is committed to establishing the truth for the peaceful progress of the country and the reconciliation of the community of Faraba.
The ceremony would allow the government to follow the right process in order to establish the truth and, thereafter, take the right decision and a well-informed course of action, he explained.
“I believe very strongly that it is only the truth that can free the people of Faraba from their troubles and allow them to reconcile their differences as a community. On the other hand, it is vital that those who committed human rights abuses and other crimes are brought to justice,” he maintained, noting that the commission has a challenging task to perform.
President Barrow concluded by urging all to support the Commission to enable it to undertake the task successfully.
Minister Tambadou assured that the exercise “will not be a mere whitewash” while extolling the choice of the membership, particularly the chairperson, who he said has an unblemished record of dedication and commitment to respect for human rights in this country. He said the caliber of professional in the commission is a demonstration of the government’s commitment to ensuring justice and accountability.
Minister Tambadou described the President’s swift move to set-up an independent inquiry as a demonstration of distinguished leadership.
Chairman Emmanuel Joof spoke on behalf of the Commissioners and expressed gratitude to the President for the confidence and trust in appointing them. He promised that they would carry the assignment diligently and independently while promising that the President has sworn in a group of “very vibrant seasoned and experienced people” who are well versed in investigations and human right.