Lack of cash and computers frustrates Gambians' hunt for justice

Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:06pm GMT

* Frustrations emerge as court case for Jammeh victim stalls

* Battered economy leaves government with little resources

* Truth commission expected, but potential pitfalls abound

By Edward McAllister and Lamin Jahateh

BANJUL, April 19 (Reuters) - After police arrested 57-year-old Gambian activist Solo Sandeng at a protest a year ago, witnesses said he was beaten to death and buried in an unmarked grave near a fishing village.

Since then a new government has come to power, promising swift redress for alleged crimes committed during the 22-year rule of ex-president Yahya Jammeh, and nine intelligence officers are now on trial for the murder.

Yet hope for justice is already giving way to frustration for Sandeng's family, as well as for relatives of the many other Gambians who disappeared before Jammeh fled the west African country in January.

They are growing impatient with a justice system which, starved of funds, equipment and expertise, is buckling under a backlog of dozens of unsolved cases from the Jammeh era.

Elation swept Gambia when Jammeh was forced out, and the new government of President Adama Barrow has promised to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in six months, modelled on similar bodies in other African nations.   Continued...

Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.