News / Africa

    Dakar Rights Activists Rally Against Gambian Executions

    Protesters gather outside the Gambian Embassy in Senegal on August 30, 2012. The banner reads: " Stop summary executions. The African Union and ECOWAS must react."
    Protesters gather outside the Gambian Embassy in Senegal on August 30, 2012. The banner reads: " Stop summary executions. The African Union and ECOWAS must react."
    Nick Loomis
    Senegal has joined the international chorus condemning Gambia's execution of nine death row inmates, two of whom were Senegalese.  The incident has further strained the neighbors' already turbulent relationship. 

    In Dakar, human rights activists rallied outside the Gambian High Commission Thursday to call on authorities to suspend all capital punishment. Dozens crowded the narrow street outside the Commission, Thursday. Their message: Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh is a murderer.

    Senegalese activist Alioune Tine led the small, but fervent, crowd. He called on the entire international community to react quickly against President Jammeh, whom he called a dictator, before it's too late.  If not, he said, all the other death row inmates will be killed and thrown in mass graves like the first nine.

    Tine's African Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights organized the demonstration with Amnesty International to intervene on behalf of the remaining 39 death row inmates whom President Jammeh has promised to execute by mid-September.

    The Gambian government announced Monday that nine death row prisoners had been killed by firing squad the night before.  The European Union, the United Nations and other world powers condemned Gambia's actions and are calling on Gambia to refrain from further executions.

    Two Senegalese citizens were among those executed.  The executions have further soured relations that were already tense because of trade and transport disputes, and Gambia's rumored support for separatist rebels in southern Senegal.

    Senegalese President Macky Sall summoned the Gambian ambassador Wednesday for a dressing down over the executions.  Sall reportedly demanded an explanation as to why Senegal was not notified of the impending execution of its citizens.

    Senegalese citizen Seynabou Wade came to the protest Thursday as a show of solidarity with the two Senegalese who were executed and the one remaining Senegalese citizen on death row in Gambia.

    Wade says that, since he has been in power, President Jammeh hasn't stopped provoking Senegal.  She says that enough is enough, especially now that he's started killing Senegalese people.

    Jammeh's 16 years in power have been marked by reports of human rights abuses, including torture, attacks on journalists and threats against homosexuals.

    Sheriff Bojang, a Gambian national living in Dakar whose cousin was executed last week for his involvement in a 1998 coup attempt against President Jammeh, says that Senegal and the rest of the international community should not expect transparency or proper protocol from the Gambian government.

    “Nobody informed the family," he said.  "Up to now, his body has not been given to the family, for he is a Muslim, for proper Muslim burial as our Gambian religion and customs demand.  But no, they put them in mass graves.  So nobody knows where he was killed or where he was buried, which is really the most disrespectful thing you can ever do to a human being.”

    The Gambian constitution allows for state executions, but it also calls for disclosure and due process that many in the international community feel was not upheld.

    You May Like

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.