After 15 years in exile, famous journalist Sheriff Bojang Junior returns home

Written by Alieu Khan

Last week, Journalist Sheriff Bojang Junior made a triumphant return to The Gambia after being in exile for 15 years.

He is among dozens of Gambians abroad returning home after Yahya Jammeh was defeated and forced into exile after losing the December 1 presidential election to opposition newcomer, Adama Barrow.

Born and brought up in Brikama, Sheriff was one of the finest journalists in the country before leaving for the UK to further his education

He later returned home but got arrested at the airport and detained for questioning due to his opposition to the authoritarian Jammeh, compelling him to flee The Gambia for Dakar, Senegal.

“I got arrested at the airport and had to flee after my release and only saw my dad for 15 minutes and he died shortly after I fled to Dakar.”

Sheriff, who now works with the West African Democracy Radio in Senegal, said he is in The Gambia on an official visit and will be returning to Dakar soon.

“I feel like a stranger in my own country. It doesn't feel like my home. I got lost. This is because in order to be move on and be happy in exile I had to switch off the part of me that was missing The Gambia. So I stopped missing home at least a decade ago. Now I'm afraid I will have to struggle to get emotionally attached to the country again,” he said.

The Brikama-born journalist added: “I will be visiting The Gambia once a month for a year or so hopefully before I finally return home for good.”

Asked whether former president, Jammeh should be pardoned for all the crimes he allegedly committed, Sheriff responded: “There are people whose family members have been killed, whose relatives have disappeared and whose loved ones have succumbed to some of the worst brutalities ever committed. People were illegally arrested, tortured, had electric shock attached to their genitals and so on and so forth. The pardon question is a personal choice. We need some level of forgiveness and reconciliation in order to move onto prosperity as a nation and as a people. But it's up to victims of dictatorship to forgive or to seek justice.”