Tag Archives: victims

The Photoville FENCE - colour portrait of Gambian schoolgirl, Amie Lowe, from 'Gambia - victims, and resisters' ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

The Photoville FENCE, 2020: ‘The Gambia-victims, and resisters’

We are thrilled to be chosen for The Photoville FENCE, 2020, with ‘Gambia – victims and resisters– an ongoing multimedia body of work that began back in 2016. With the blessing of those we have photographed and filmed, our intention has always been to share their very personal and traumatic stories far and wide. Heartfelt thanks to the FENCE jurors and the Photoville team for helping us to achieve this.

The Photoville FENCE 2020 - Nana Jo Ndow holds a photograph of her father, Saul Ndow who was killed by Gambian security forces. 'Gambia - victims, and resisters' ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
The Photoville FENCE – Nana-Jo Ndow, daughter of Saul Ndow (whose photo she is holding), who, in 2013, was forcibly disappeared from Senegal, along with Mahawa Cham, former Gambian MP. Witness testimonies revealed that they had been abducted and taken over the border into The Gambia, where they were both killed by Jammeh’s hits quad ‘The Junglers‘ Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
#ThePhotovilleFENCE – ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

The Photoville FENCE is a year-round public photography project exhibited in major parks and downtowns across North America. Featuring over 90 photographers annually, the exhibition brings compelling visual stories into the public realm, and to a wide and diverse audience.

The 9th edition will be displayed in Atlanta, Brooklyn, Calgary, Denver, Durham, Houston, Metro (Fargo, W. Fargo and Moorhead), New Orleans, Sarasota, Seattle and Winchester!‘ Read/see more: The Photoville FENCE

The Photoville FENCE 2020 - Portrait of Sgt Basiru Camara and the remains of an exhumation in The Gambia. 'Gambia - victims, and resisters' ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
The Photoville FENCE – Sgt Basiru Camara, killed by Gambian security forces in 1994 and the remains of an exhumation, Yundum Barracks, The Gambia, in 2019. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

President Yahya Jammeh ruled The Gambia with an iron fist for twenty two years after taking control of the country with a coup in July1994. With Jammeh’s exile after electoral defeat in 2016, a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) was set up to look into his regime’s abuses. The TRRC along with victims families and local media at Yundum army Barracks where the bodies of seven murdered soldiers were exhumed. The soldiers were murdered by soldiers loyal to Jammeh for being allegedly part of a counter coup in November 1994. Witnesses say eleven soldiers were buried at the barracks, so far only seven have been found. Along with the bone fragments, electrical cables were also found that were used to bind the victims hands. The only clothing found were underwear, corroborating witness testimonies that the men were stripped almost naked before being shot.

#ThePhotovilleFENCE
Gambia Portraits - Fatoumatta Sandeng, daughter of murdered activist, Solo Sandeng, whilst she was in exile in Dakar Senegal © Jason Florio
The Photoville FENCE – Fatoumatta Sandeng, daughter of murdered Gambian opposition leader, Solo Sandeng. She escaped into exile to Senegal after her father’s murder in 2016 – at the hands of Yahya Jammeh’s security forces – fearful that she would be targeted next ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
#Portraits4PositiveChange

From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled the Gambia, West Africa, as his own personal fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition, with brutality.

His personal hit squad and intelligence agency carried out tortures, and assassinations with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, ministers were jailed, students shot in cold blood, and even his own brother and sister were murdered on his orders. 

With Jammeh’s 2016 election defeat, he went into exile after a standoff with regional forces, and the victims of his regime started to come forward.

So far, over 1000 victims and their families have registered with the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations to share their stories and help build international support to bring Jammeh to justice

Exhibiting at Photoville, NYC, 2013: Teamwork ‘River Gambia – 1044km source-sea African odyssey’ expedition – Image of Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

Please vote for us and a chance for our work to be chosen for the People’s Choice Winner of the 9th edition of the Photoville FENCE!!

Cast your vote for the People’s Choice Winner of the 9th edition of the Photoville FENCE! Help decide the artist who will receive a Leica camera package and a yearlong mentorship with the Photoville team. 

Individuals may cast one vote per day from now through January 2021. 

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Header image: Gambian student, Ami Lowe.

“I grew up not knowing the love of a father. I was only three years old when he disappeared, so I don’t remember him. I only know him through what people have told me, that he was a good man, and some say he was a hero.” Amie Lowe

17 year old Amie Lowe photographed in her late father’s room, left unchanged since he was killed in 2006. Amie’s father, Lt Ebou Lowe was disappeared and executed by members of the former president, Yahya Jammeh’s hit squad, ‘the Junglers’, after he was accused of being part of a coup attempt in 2006 to overthrow the dictatorial Jammeh regime. Image ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

View more portraits from this on-going, multimedia, series on Jason Florio’s website floriophoto.com

Victims of Jammeh - portraits by Jason Florio, The Gambia
‘Gambia – victims, and resisters‘ – Binta Tunkara looking at a photo of her late father on her phone. Bintu is the daughter of murdered Gambian, Lamin Tunkara. He was part of a group of 56 West African migrants who were murdered. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Watch: ‘I Cannot Bury My Father’ – short documentary about the murder of 56 West African migrants, in 2005, in The Gambia, by Yahya Jammeh’s security forces

CURRENT LOCATION: OCTOBER 2020 – THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA

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'Gambia-victims, and resisters' portrait of Abdoulie Jamanti Darboe. Image ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’ new portraits by Jason Florio

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’: Abdoulie Jamanti Darboe, a former clerk at the training school of the Gambia Armed Forces was arrested and tortured for his supposed involvement in the November 11th, 1994 alleged coup plot. Sent to Mile 2 Prison, he went to court three times. Each time the court stated ‘no case to answer’, and that he should be released. He was finally released, 18 months later, without trial.

“Every Friday at the mosque, I see the man who tortured me in prison. The perpetrators are still enjoying life while we suffer. Reconciliation is the only thing that will bring peace, but not if the perpetrators do not own up to their wrongs.”

Gambia – victims, and resisters

'Gambia-victims, and resisters' portrait of Sainabou Camara Lowe. Image ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange
‘Gambia-victims, and resisters‘ Sainabou Camara Lowe. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

“She’s alive! She’s alive! “

On April 10th, 2000, Sainabou Camara Lowe, then a young student, was caught up in student protests erupting in Serrekunda, Gambia’s business hub. She was captured and detained by four paramilitary officers. She was taken to one of the officer’s quarters, where they stripped off her school dress and tied a rope around her neck to restrain her. Sainabou said that the officers then stamped on all over her body, including her groin area until she passed out. Believing she was dead, the officers took her to the mortuary at the hospital. A nurse saw her, and while trying to remove the rope from the young girl’s neck – as she did not want Sainabou’s family to see her body in such a condition – Sainabou took a gasp of breath. “She’s alive! She’s alive!” the nurse shouted and rushed her to the Emergency Ward. Sainabou remained in the hospital for over three months – during which time she was treated for multiple injuries, including internal damage to her vagina.

“When the shooting started we (the students) all ran from the paramilitary. I’m trying to jump over the fence but I cannot.  I already threw one leg over but with the other one they dragged me down and threw me to the ground, they were beating me. Then they took me to their quarters and tied me up. With their boots they were dancing all over my body. Then I became unconscious. For seven days afterwards my family didn’t know where I was, they thought I was dead”

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Watch: I Cannot Bury My Father’ – Director of Photography, Jason Florio / for ANEKED

In 2005, 56 West African migrants, including 44 Ghanaians were murdered in The Gambia en route to Europe. The unarmed migrants were killed by the “Junglers”, a death squad reporting directly to President, Yahya Jammeh, Gambia’s dictator at the time. Evidence has since emerged that Yahya Jammeh, gave the orders to kill them. The families of the victims are still seeking justice.

At the time of release of this documentary, Yahya Jammeh is in exile in Equatorial Guinea. ©ANEKED

'Gambia-victims, and resisters' portrait of journalist, Pa Modou Faal. Image ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange
‘Gambia-victims, and resisters‘. Journalist, Pa Modu Faal. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

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Photographers, Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio - portrait courtesy Joanna Demarco, The Gambia, West Africa
Photographers/filmmakers, Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio – portrait courtesy Joanna Demarco, The Gambia, West Africa

From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled The Gambia, West Africa, as his own personal fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition, with brutality.

His personal hit squad and intelligence agency carried out tortures, and assassinations with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, ministers were jailed, students shot in cold blood, and even his own brother and sister were murdered on his orders. 

With Jammeh’s 2016 election defeat, he went into exile after a standoff with regional forces, and the victims of his regime started to come forward.

So far, over one thousand victims and their families have registered with the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations to share their stories and help build international support to bring Jammeh to justice.

#Jammeh2Justice

This multi-media series is a work in progress – which began at the end of 2016, just before Jammeh was ousted (when we met Gambian dissidents who were hiding out in neighbouring Senegal). Helen and I, have many more portraits to make, and testimonies to film. We are forever indebted to all those who have shared their stories with us so far. View more from the series on my website floriophoto.com

Jason Florio

Photographer & Filmmaker

Current Location: September 2020 – Malta

Assignment queries, and image licensing – Contact here

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The Gambia – finding truth and reconciliation

TRRC billboard, depicting portraits from ‘Gambia – victims. and resisters’ Image ©Jason Florio, The Gambia, West Africa

The tiny West African republic, The Gambia, is a popular winter-sun holiday destination for Europeans. However, most tourists have little idea of the dark and shattered underbelly of ‘The Smiling Coast of Africa’, as the Gambia is fondly called. From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled the Gambia as his fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition with brutality. His personal hit squad and National Intelligence Agency carried out tortures, assassinations, and acts of sexual violence with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, students shot in cold blood, and even his cousins were murdered on his order. 

A Gambian man wears a t-shirt of murdered newspaper editor and journalist, Deyda Hydara (June 9, 1946 – December 16, 2004). Hydara was assassinated by Gambian security forces on the orders of President Yahya Jammeh. Image ©Jason Florio
A Gambian man wears a t-shirt of murdered newspaper editor and journalist, Deyda Hydara (June 9, 1946 – December 16, 2004). Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

In October 2018 the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) launched in The Gambia – a televised commission investigating the human rights violations under the 22-year dictatorial rule of President Yahya Jammeh. The TRRC, suspended over the past couple of months due to COVID19, resumed on Monday 8th June 2020, hearing testimonies from the victims and survivors of Jammeh’s rule, along with those of the alleged perpetrators. It is a long, and extremely painful process for many, to finally have their voices heard, but also to see and hear the voices of those who are implicated in meting out shocking tortures, killings, and human rights abuses, and about what happened to their loved ones. 

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

#Portraits4PostiveChange

For over three years, we have been collaborating closely with the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations, and the TRRC; and have created permanent and mobile exhibitions of the portraits and testimonies. The exhibitions have now become part of Victims Centre and TRRC outreach work around the country, to bring the stories of victims to the people, to create dialogue and discussion around human rights and justice in this fledgling democracy – in hopes of opening eyes and winning hearts and minds. And, we will continue making the portraits and filming testimonies once flights to Gambia resume after the lockdown.

Portrait of Amie Lowe - daughter of Ebou Lowe, a soldier executed on Yahya Jammeh's orders after being accused of a coup attempt, The Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Amie Lowe – daughter of Ebou Lowe, a soldier executed on Jammeh’s orders after being accused of a coup attempt. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Portrait of Sankung Balajo - victims of President Yahya Jammeh's witch hunts, The Gambia, in 2009 © Jason Florio
Sankung Balajo – victim of President Yahya Jammeh’s ‘witch hunts’, The Gambia © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

The Gambia – finding truth and reconciliation

Amie Bayo - portrait, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio 'Gambia - Victims and Resisters of a Regime',
Amie Bayo – Arrested after a peaceful protest, held for 11 days without due process, during which time she was beaten by security forces. © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
'Victims of Jammeh' The Gambia, West Africa - portraits by Jason Florio
Portraits from ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’ The Gambia, West Africa. Images ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Photography exhibition opening night at the National Centre for Arts and Culture, Banjul. Portraits ©Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio Gambia-victims, and resisters, Portraits to Remember
Opening night of ‘Portraits to Remember’ exhibition at the National Centre for Arts & Culture, Banjul, The Gambia, in collaboration with ANEKED & Sites of Conscience. Portraits on display ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio. Exhibition Image ©Jason Florio

Current Location: June 2020 – easing lockdown in the UK

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Portraits of Gambian Journalists – World Press Freedom Day 2020

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World Press Freedom Day 2020 During Gambian dictator, Yahya Jammeh’s rule from 1994-2016 the Gambian press suffered mercilessly at his hands. Journalists were gunned down, disappeared, tortured, and threatened. Media houses shuttered and radio stations burned to the ground. But stalwart voices kept the flame alive, speaking truth to power. _ As part of our long-term documentation of ‘Gambia-Victims & Resisters’ of the Jammeh regime, here are some portraits of those who fell foul of regime, but kept fighting. _ 1.Lamin Fatty – Independent Newspaper, “I went through hell. It was horrible. I was electrocuted. They took me out of my cell to the backyard where they’d dig a hole, and buried me half way, and shoved a gun in my mouth and threaten to kill me”. – 2. Honorable Madi M.K Ceesay – journalist and National Assembly Member. “I was tortured twice by the Jammeh’s team with the use of wires, gun butts as well as using an electrical device…” – 3. Malick Mboob – Daily Observer, arrested in 2006 “I was beaten with sticks, military boots and they beat me mercilessly – and I was crying for help and bleeding profusely,” recalls Mboob “They eventually stopped beating me when I pretended I was dead.” – – 4. Mr Pa Modou Faal and six other journalists were arrested in 2009 by the former regime in connection to reaction press release issued by the Gambia Press Union about former President Yahya Jammeh’s remarks about the slain journalist Deyda Hydara- murdered by Jammeh’s hit squad in a drive-by shooting. – – 5. Pap Saine – The Point, In 2010, Saine was named a World Press Freedom Hero by the International Press Institute. Saine described the award as a morale-booster and "an inspiration for journalists who are fighting for freedom of the press and the interests of justice, democracy and human rights not only in the Gambia but in all of Africa". I 6. Threatening messages sent to Taranga Radio journalist , Alagie Ceesay. _ _ #Portraits4PositiveChange #worldpressfreedomday2020 #GambiaPressUnion #yahyajammeh #Jammeh2Justice #theGambia #AmnestyInternational #HumanRightsWatch #CPJ #committeetoprotectjournalists #deydahydara #westafricajournalist #reduxpictures #reduxreps

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Instagram: World Press Freedom Day – Portraits of Gambian Journalists ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

#Portraits4PositiveChange

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Current Location: May 2020 – on lockdown in the UK

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