Senegal undecided over Kukoi’s burial

24 Jun
Kukoi's reign as Gambia's Head of State was brought to an abrupt halt on August 5, 1981 by Senegalese troops - five days after his National Revolutionary Council, NRC, seized power.

Kukoi’s reign as Gambia’s Head of State was brought to an abrupt halt on August 5, 1981 by Senegalese troops – five days after his National Revolutionary Council, NRC, seized power.

By Modou S. Joof

Authorities in neighbouring Senegal are undecided over the burial of late Gambian dissident, Kukoi Samba Sanyang, who died in the Malian capital Bamako on June 18.

Latest online reports indicated that Kukoi’s body is kept at a mortuary in Dakar, where the Senegalese Government is waiting for a decision as to where he is to be buried.

His body was repatriated to the West African nation at the expense of the Macky Sall Government, which had expelled and deported him to troubled Mali in April.

According to The Point, unnamed sources indicated that while some members of Kukoi’s family want his remains to be buried at his home village of Wassadung, in Foni District of The Gambia – others are of the view that permission may not be granted by the Gambian authorities.

English: Macky Sall Français : Macky Sall

Macky Sall’s Government questioned the authenticity of Kukoi’s Senegal citizenship documents (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The late Kukoi died at the age of 61 after he was briefly admitted at a hospital in Mali following a failing health.

“He didn’t have the medical attention in Mali that he needed,” ASN quoted a source who “accuse the Senegalese President of being indirectly responsible” as saying.

Kukoi, who led a rebellion in The Gambia in 1981 at the age of 29, had protested against his arrested and deportation to the troubled West African country of Mali two months ago by the Senegal Government.

Sall’s Government came under stern criticism from human rights defenders who condemned Kukoi’s expulsion.

Amnesty International-Senegal said it was wrong for Mr Sall’s Government to expel Senegalese citizens. Reports stated the rights agency has published some of Kukoi’s documents indicating he acquired Senegalese citizenship in 2009.

But, the Senegalese Government questioned the authenticity of the documents. Prime Minister Abdoul Mbaye told State TV, RTS: “Senegal will never expel a Senegalese citizen”.

Bamako, Mali

Kukoi died here in Bamako 2 months after Senegal deported him to the troubled West African nation of Mali (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Speaking from Bamako following his expulsion, Kukoi told the Dakar-based Zik FM that he was only in Senegal to seek medical attention, according to reports.

“I told them I was in the Netherlands, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali and then Senegal respectively where I have been residing for 9 months seeking medical attention,” Kukoi was quoted as saying in April.

Meanwhile, it is still unclear when or where Kukoi’s remains will be buried, according to latest reports. He died of an unnamed illness in Bamako last Tuesday.

Kukoi served as The Gambia’s Head of State for five days when his 12-member National Revolutionary Council, NRC, successfully dislodge President Jawara who was abroad on July 31, 1981.

His reign was brought to an abrupt halt on August 5 by Senegalese troops who defeated the NRC, according to FPI research.

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