Following Dictator Yaya Jammeh’s arrest and detention of 16 year old minor Yusupha Lowe, 19 year old Alieu Lowe and countless other mothers, fathers and relatives of those Jammeh accused of being part of the 30th December 2014 insurgency, Gambian activist have issued countless warnings to Dictator Jammeh asking him to release those innocent family members as they have nothing to do with the allege crimes of their relatives. Many observers said that Dictator Jammeh made his family a target by arresting relatives of his allege enemies, since activists have always critiqued Jammeh but left his family out of the attacks but when on January 1st, following the failed coup on 30th December Jammeh arrested a child and parents of the alleged insurgents, he made his family a target. This lead to DUGA DC in collaboration with other activists locating Jammeh’s daughter’s posh boarding school in New York and organizing a protest at the school to deliver a petition to the school authorities Friday May 29 2015.
The Leman Manhattan International Boarding School cost $72,000 per academic year, excluding expenses such as field trips, uniforms, laptops, health insurance etc which add to another $6000 (D3,120,000 – $1=40).
According to the NYpost, the Leman Manhattan International Boarding School is “Manhattan’s first and only residential school offers well-heeled 15- to 18-year-olds perks their public- and even private-school peers can only dream of: a 25-yard indoor pool and fully equipped gym, trips to Broadway shows like “Wicked,” the US Tennis Open and Disney World; a rock-climbing wall and professionally designed theater; and, from its perch on the top four floors of the Cunard Building in lower Manhattan, classrooms overlooking the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor”. This when Dictator Jammeh’s monthly salary is $1250 (D50000) per month, 60% of Gambians live under $1.25 per day (UNDP report) and the Gambia Government recently had an emergency loan approval of $10.8 million from IMF in April 2015. Gambian hospitals lack medicines and equipment as revealed by the Chief Medical Officer, who was sacked two weeks ago for revealing the dire situation at the hospital. This follows the resignation of the Chief Justice Chohan whose left following dictator Jammeh’s interference in the Judiciary.
A week ago, Amnesty International in collaboration with Human Rights Watch launched an emergency campaign and call for action demanding the release of 16year old Yusupha Lowe and other family members of the alleged insurgents. The link to the campaign is http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/05/27/gambia-dozens-held-incommunicado-disappeared.
Gambian activists are also calling on the immediate release of Yusupha and others in collaboration with Amnesty.
Activist say that the protest today was to deliver a protest letter to the school for accepting the child of a brutal dictator, who is known worldwide for gross human rights violations and who publicly declared that he will “slit the throats of Gays caught in the Gambia”. Activist are organizing another more public protest outside Dictator Jammeh’s daughter’s posh boarding school before term ends to send a clear message to him that he will not get away with detaining innocent family members in Gambia and have his family spared.