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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 26 Jul 2019 : 14:39:42
My Condolences to the family,friends,of the deceased Ousman Darboe
In the wake of the death of one Ousman Darboe, a 33 year old shopkeeper at the Serekunda market under circumstances still under police investigations,The Gambia Government expresses its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, relatives and friends.
Accordingly, government wants to make it abundantly clear that The Gambia is fully committed to the values of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights. Consitent with these norms, The Gambia Government will immediately set up an Independent Enquiry into the circumstances leading to the late Ousman Darboe’s death and if any person or persons were to be found liable, they will face the full force of the law.
Meanwhile, The Gambia Government appeals for calm and advises citizens especially the youth, to stay home and resist the temptation to be violent. The public is urged to refrain from provoking the security forces and all acts of vandalism as evident in the incineration of Police Commissioner Mboob’s residence earlier today at Ebo Town.
The Interior Ministry wants to remind Gambians, that while it is their democratic right to assemble and demonstrate, it is illegal to indulge in arson, looting and all forms of violence against any citizen.
Equally, the Interior Ministry firmly warns against mob justice and admonishes the youth to avoid taking the law into their own hands no matter how painful the circumstances.
The public is thus reminded that police presence in key locations within our communities was primarily to protect and preserve the law and police officers should therefore, be seen as legitimate custodians of the peace and not troublemakers.
Office Of The Gambia Government Spokesperson
Press Release Dated: July 24th, 2019
|15 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 11 Sep 2019 : 17:14:01
September 11, 2019
Only Rapper Killa Ace and six others arrested in connection with the July 24 demonstrations in Serekunda are still being remanded at Mile II.
Last night the authorities released 17 out of the 24 that were remanded.
According to official sources, initially a total of 57 people were arrested but after preliminary processing, 20 were released and the remaining 37 remanded.
“But when the 37 arrived at their first court hearing, 13 of them managed to escaped among a very rowdy and chaotic crowd.
This left a figure of 24 who were returned to Mile 11.
With 17 of them released yesterday, only 7 remain at Mile II and they include Killa Ace,” an authoritative source told The Standard yesterday.
||Posted - 11 Sep 2019 : 16:52:00
By Nelson Manneh September 10, 2019
Lawyer for Ali Cham has confirmed to Foroyaa that he has filed a bail application for his client before the High Court.
Patrick Gomez said: “We have filed a bail application for the 37 accused persons at the high court so that they can be granted bail.”
The 37 accused persons are; 3 Sierra Leoneans, 3 Guineans, 2 Senegalese and 29 Gambians including Executive members of ‘Boka Lokho’ Association of the Serrekunda Market.
They are alleged to have participated in a riot that led to the burning of Bakoteh Police Station and the compound of Assistant Commissioner, Gorgi Mboob.
People took to the streets on 24th July to vent their anger over the death of one Ousman Darboe, a Sierra Leonean national whose demise according to the protesters, was as a result of police brutality.
The defendants were on 3rd September remanded by the Magistrate’s Court in the wake of the prosecution’s application for the matter to be transferred to the High Court since the subordinate court lacks competent jurisdiction to hear some of the charges.
||Posted - 27 Aug 2019 : 22:42:09
By Yankuba Jallow & Nelson Manneh August 27, 2019
A Magistrates Court in Kanifing on Tuesday remanded thirteen seven suspects charged with arson and unlawful assembly following a protest in Serrekunda over the death of a market vendor.
Magistrate Elizabeth Dunn remanded the 37 accused persons at Mile II till Tuesday.
The 37 suspects are; 3 Sierra Leoneans, 3 Guineans, 2 Senegalese and 29 Gambians including Executive members of the Boka Lokho Association of the Serrekunda Market.
The prosecuting officer, Superintendent M.D. Mballow said counts 4, 5, 6 and 7 are offences which attract punishment to life imprisonment. Mballow said by virtue of legal notice number 3 of 2009 which provides for a Special Criminal Division of the High Court to exclusively try capital offences, he made an application for the matter to be transferred to the High Court for trial. In his submission, Mballow said legal notice number 3 forms part of the Gambian laws by virtue of section 7 of the Constitution. He urged the court to remand the accused persons pending their arraignment before the Special Criminal Division of the High Court, adding that counts 4, 5, 6 and 7 are all offences that cannot be bailed.
Lawyer Patrick Gomez for the suspects, in his objection called on the court to strike out count 4, 5, 6 and 7 rather than transferring the matter to the High Court. He said the provision of the law to empower the case to the High Court is discretionary and does not make it mandatory.
He put forward that the charges are brought as an abuse of process and with bad faith. He said the Inspector General of Police (IGP) knew since at the onset that the charges cannot be tried by the Magistrates Court and yet they include it in the charge sheet.
“The charges were brought before this court just to have the accused persons (suspects) remanded for a long period of time,” Lawyer Gomez submitted.
He said the High Court rules in 2013 clearly discourage this practice, adding that this is to dissuade the prosecution from including charges that they are not ready to proceed with or charges that they cannot prosecute them for. He said the prosecution argued that the court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the case, adding that the charges were included in bad faith because what is sought to be achieved in the case is for the long detention of the suspects. He enjoined the court to exercise its discretion judiciously because the courts are the last hope for people.
He said the police have an interest in the case because the complainant in count 4 is a senior police officer.
Lawyer A. Sisoho commenced his submission, but the matter was adjourned to Tuesday, 3rd September 2019 from 9 am to 11 am for the continuation of Lawyer Sisoho’s submissions and reply on points of law by the prosecuting officer.
According to the charge sheet which is yet to be read, the suspects will be facing prosecution on 8 counts.
On count 1, Conspiracy to commit felony, all the suspects jointly and unlawfully agreed amongst themselves to commit a felony to wit: unlawful assemblies, malicious damage and arson respectively.
On count 2, Unlawful assembly, according to the particulars of offence, the 37 suspects jointly and unlawfully assembled themselves with intent to carry out a common purpose to wit: committing a breach of peace.
Count 3, Prohibition of conduct conducive to breach of peace, according to the particulars of offence, all the suspects while at Serrekunda- Sayerr Jobe Avenue, Bakoteh, Bijilo and Ebo Town respectively and being at such public places with intent to commit a breach of the peace, provoked the public peace by disrupting traffic flow and instilling fear to other members of the public.
On count 4, Arson, according to the particulars of offence, all the suspects jointly and willfully set fire to Assistant Commissioner Gorgi Mboob’s compound.
Count 5 is also on Arson and all the suspects are alleged to have jointly and willfully set fire to the Bakoteh Police Station.
On count 6, Rioters demolishing building, according to the particulars of offence, all the suspects riotously assembled together, destroyed a fence of the Anti-Crime Unit Headquarters of The Gambia Police Force (GPF).
Count 7 is also Rioters demolishing building. The suspects are alleged to have riotously assembled together unlawfully and destroyed a motor vehicle with a registration number, GPF 26 WCR (West Coast Regions’s Court service) a mini bus by smashing the entire vehicle.
On the final count, Riotously injuring machinery, according to the particulars of offence, the suspects riotously assembled together, unlawfully set on fire a motor vehicle registration number GPF 26 WCR which is a mini bus.
The suspects are Ousman Bah, Basiru Gaye, Demba Njie alias ‘Gun’,Sarjoe Fatty, Hadim Muna Samasa, Omar Jabbie, Ebrima Bah, Dodou Njie, Jahe Kanteh alias ‘yugo’, Muhammed Fadia alias Bais, Lansana Tamba, Sheikh Joof alias Pilot, Omar Darboe alias OD, Lamin Danso alias ‘Shabba’, Ali Cham alias ‘Killer Ace’, Almamy Yaya Sillah, Yankuba Manneh, Alpha Omar Bah, Ebrima Camara, Musa Krubally, Muctarr Jallow, Pa Modou Ndoye, Malick Tine, Abdoulie Camara, Abdourahman Bah, Adama Njie, Modou S. Jallow, Hamadi Sowe, Muhammed Barry, Muhammed Gando Camara, Ebrima Mboob, Joseph Bangura, Mustapha Jallow, Salieu Sambou, Fafa Jammeh, Modou S. Jallow and Yerro Saidy alias Blakker.
||Posted - 21 Aug 2019 : 13:27:41
By Nelson Manneh August 20, 2019
Foroyaa has been reliably informed that more than a dozen people who were arrested by Police on Saturday in the aftermath of the 24th July Serrekunda Market demonstration have been released on bail.
The mass demonstration culminated in the burning of the Bakoteh Police Station and the resident of Commissioner Gorgi Mboob of the Anti-Crime Unit.
Those people arrested on Saturday at the Serrekunda Market were suspected of partaking in the setting ablaze of Bakoteh Police Station and the residence of Commissioner Gorgi Mboob.
The demonstration held on 24 July 2019 was staged by vendors of the Serrekunda Market and some youths who called on the Police to stop brutalizing people especially those under their custody. For the protesters, the death of their colleague vendor, Ousman Darboe, a Sierra Leonean was a consequent of torture meted out to him by the Police while he was under the custody of the Anti-Crime Unit.
A source, who was at the Police headquarters in Banjul at the time of their release of the arrestees, said the police have indicated that all those who were arrested should report to the Tallinding Police Station.
Dodou Njie, the President of the Serrekunda Market Association, has confirmed to this medium that all the vendors who were arrested from the market were granted bail by the police.
“I was informed that all of them were charged, but there was no charge sheet given to them. Some of us were even told to report with the arrestees at the Tallinding Police which we did,” he said.
Ali Cham popularly known as Killa Ace, was also among those arrested on Saturday, 17th July and he was the first person granted bail by the Gambia Police Force. According to our source, his surety was asked to enter into a bail bond of D50, 000.
||Posted - 19 Aug 2019 : 17:44:22
By Omar Bah August 19, 2019
Gambian rapper and activist, Ali Cham commonly known as Killa Ace, has been arrested and denied bail.
The rapper was arrested by police with dozen other youths in connection with a protest in July against the death of a Sierra Leonean national, Ousman Darboe.
Darboe, a 33-year old businessman was arrested by the police Anti-Crime Unit and detained briefly.
Darboe later died after his release.
The youths said the asthmatic patient was tortured while in police custody.
The protesters burnt the house of the head of the police Anti-Crime Unit, Gorgi Mboob.
The Unit’s headquarters at Bijilo was also reportedly attacked and during the protest a police station was also destroyed at Bakoteh.
Killa Ace’s close associate Yusef Taylor confirmed his arrest to The Standard yesterday.
Taylor who has visited Ace at the Brusubi Police yesterday said he was arrested with at least over a dozen people.
“I visited him this morning at the Brusubi Police and he is in a very good mood; he looks very strong because to him he is fighting for the right cause.
But personally I think the police’s refusal to give bail goes to show how much young people in this country are viewed by our government,” he said.
The Standard has contacted the police spokesperson who claimed not to have any knowledge obout the arrest but promised to find out and get back to us which he did not do until press time.
||Posted - 19 Aug 2019 : 17:17:09
Monday, August 19, 2019
ASP Lamin Njie, police spokesman has told The Point in an interview that 12 people have been arrested including rapper activist Killa Ace.
“The police are investigating their alleged involvement in vandalism and destruction of properties during last month’s mass protest in Serekunda,” ASP Njie said.
Serekunda Market was hit by protest last month after the death of a 33-year-old businessman Ousman Darboe.
Family sources alleged that Darboe died as a result of alleged police brutality – an allegation police denied.
Government, however, has set up a commission of inquiry to look in the allegation leveled against the police.
The protest that nearly turned into a riot resulted in the burning of motor tyres and the house of the head of police Anti Crime Unit and several properties.
Source: Picture: ASP Lamin Njie, police spokesman
||Posted - 19 Aug 2019 : 17:14:43
QUESTION OF THE DAY
A mature state must be able to distinguish criminal actions of individuals and conflicts that may lead to destruction of properties. Conflicts always provide a shield for some to carry out actions that under ordinary circumstances could not be done. Hence the real solution to conflict is to prevent its recurrence.
August 19, 2019
The minister of the interior and the minister of justice should examine the cause of the conflict which escalated into violent confrontation between the youth and the security forces with tear gas canisters moving helter-skelter while the youth attacked police stations. Taking a few people to court for reasons associated with civil disobedience of such monumental proportion does not appear to be in line with the best interest of the country. The state should draw the right lessons, allow bygones to be bygones and work on preventing recurrence.
||Posted - 19 Aug 2019 : 17:10:45
By Nelson Manneh August 19, 2019
Officers of the Anti-Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force (GPF), on Saturday August 17th arrested some people at the Serrekunda Market in connection with the burning of Bakoteh Police Station and the residence of Gorrgi Mboob, Commander of the said Unit.
The arrestees are said to be suspects who allegedly participated in the burning of the Bakoteh Police Station and the residence of Commissioner Mboob. According to eyewitness, the Officers entered the market with one boy who was pointing fingers at individuals in the market who were in turn arrested; that those arrested were taken to the Kairaba Police Station whilst some were taken to Tallinding Police Station; that in the evening of the same day, those kept at Tallinding Police Station where transferred to the Anti-Crime Unit Headquarters in Bijilo.
Dodou Njie, president of the Serrekunda Market association of vendors, told this medium that after his enquiries, he was told that the arrest came in the wake of a panel of investigation that was formed by the authorities, in connection to the burning of the Bakoteh Police Station and the residence of Gorrgi Mboob.
“When these officers came into the Market, they were accompanied by one boy who has always been in the market with us. They went round the market with him and he was pointing fingers at individuals. And it is those individuals who were arrested by the officers and taken away,” he said; that as president of the market association, he asked the Officers why they were arresting those people; that they responded that a panel of investigators was formed to investigate the burning of the Bakoteh Police Station and residence of Gorrgi Mboob, during the recent Serrekunda market protest last July.
“Some of those people arrested yesterday did not participate in the past protest that took place in this market. The investigation panel should have used other means than to just come and conduct arrest randomly,” Njie said; that he cannot confirm the number of people who were arrested because the Officers were going round and effecting the arrests. “Among those arrested, some are mobile phone technicians and sellers at the ‘black’ market and others I do not know or recognized,’’ he said; that as an association, they will struggle for their release.
Mariama Camara a vendor at the market said she does not know the reason associated with the arrest of their colleagues. “I just saw the Officers going round the market and arresting people. Some of us were afraid and even started parking our goods because we thought that the protest has start again,” she noted.
Ms. Camara said if the Police continue to conduct such arrest like this, it may cause another commotion in the market.
At the time of going to press, the Police Public Relations Officer of the GPF ASP Lamin Njie, was contacted to confirm the number of people arrested, but he was unreachable by phone. However, one of the Officers confirmed to this reporter that all those arrested and kept at the Tallinding Police Station, have been transferred to the Anti-Crime Headquarters in Bijilo.
||Posted - 31 Jul 2019 : 20:29:51
By Madi Jobarteh July 31, 2019
Let me repeat, the vast majority of the citizens of the Gambia appreciate and respect the men and women of the Gambia Police Force.
I am sure this is a fact that many police officers would attest in their daily interactions with citizens. The police are an indispensable necessity and the majority of police officers are hardworking men and women who are committed to their work as they should, professionally and efficiently.
In their line of duty police officers face clear and direct danger yet they execute their functions to the best of their ability without favour or ill will, for or against any individual. They simply want to enforce the law and then go back home to their families.
Hence it is also in the interest of each ad every citizen to respect and cooperate with the police. In fact, a citizen who abides by the law is a police officer of his or her own since by abiding by the law that citizen is in fact enforcing the law.
The law that the Gambia Police enforce are the laws that protect our rights.
The Police Act states that the general duty of the police is to preserve law and order, to protect property, to prevent and detect crime and to apprehend and prosecute offenders.
When there is law and order it means there is safety for all such that citizens’ rights, life and properties are safe and secure.
Anytime crime occurs it means an injury to our life, property and safety. Hence anyone protecting our lives, properties and safety means that person or entity is indeed protecting our human rights.
This is why to me the police are the foremost and immediate human rights protector in society! As citizens this is how we should perceive the police,
At the same time the police must also perceive themselves as human rights defenders at all times.
This means the police themselves must not break the law. For example, if the police arrest a suspect, not matter the gravity of the crime committed by that suspect, the police must not torture that person in anyway.
This is because torture constitutes a damage to life and liberty hence a violation of human rights. The police must not do that!
For that matter our men and women in law enforcement must educate themselves adequately about their role and function and create the necessary structures, tools and processes to ensure that they combat crime without having to cause harm to both the victims and the perpetrators of crime.
This is the only way the police can guarantee the trust and confidence of the public hence enhance the cooperation of citizens in the fight against crime.
Yes, no one likes criminals especially if one is a victim. We are always happy when we hear the police have apprehended criminals
. But we will all harm ourselves if we allow the police to manhandle suspects just because we think they are criminals.
The laws of the Gambia are such that they favour the police more than the criminal.
Hence the police have no need to fuss since the law is always on their side.
Therefore, let the police uphold the law and enjoy the continued appreciation of citizens.
To enable the police to uphold the law effectively and enjoy public trust and cooperation, it is necessary that the police review themselves.
This means the police need to re-organize, renew and rebrand itself in all ways.
For example, it is necessary that police officers act professional and disciplined at all times when they deal with citizens no matter how rudely an individual acted towards them or what crime was committed.
The police officer is expected to be a well-trained professional to contain difficult persons or challenging situations.
Secondly it is pertinent that the police appear professional in their comportment, i.e. to be neat and tidy in uniform and attitude.
They should put on proper uniforms with visible identification tags for all to see.
Our police officers in uniform should not be smoking in public.
Our traffic officers should not be texting or speaking on phone while in the middle of the traffic.
Police officers must not be seen cursing or quarrelling with citizens. Above all our police officers must not be begging or extorting money from people.
Furthermore, it is necessary that the police adopt smart strategies and tactics in combating crime.
To use the same old crude and blunt methods will only undermine the trust and image of the police in the eyes of citizens.
For that matter it is necessary that there is lot more investment into law enforcement with modern gadgets for detection and investigation of crime.
Our police officers need constant refresher training.
To enhance better police and civilian relations the police must do away with old and crude forms of policing such as mounting checkpoints indiscriminately all over the country.
Criminals know where checkpoints are hence it is every easy for them to avoid the checkpoints. This is why hardly would the police intercept illicit materials at checkpoints.
Foe example I always see trucks and certain vehicles avoid the checkpoint in front of Bottrop school in Kembujeh by branching off into the community to circumvent the checkpoint only to enter the highway again after the checkpoint!
In the absence of checkpoints what the police therefore need to do is to enhance their intelligence capabilities.
Without effective and innovative intelligence tools and skills no security institution will be able to do its work well.
Hence the intelligence facilities and capabilities of the police must be developed so as to detect crimes. Criminals use intelligence hence the police must also use intelligence.
Talking about modern gadgets and methods of policing, it is necessary that the Police create and popularise a hotline such as 911 as in other countries.
But it is not also enough to create such a hotline when there are no proper vehicles that can respond immediately to the call.
This is why if the Government is interested in ensuring a safe and secure society it must indeed invest heavily into the Gambia Police Force.
Such investment must not only be about working conditions and tools but also about the welfare of police officers such as their salaries, living quarters and transportation among others must be enhanced.
Community policing has been a longstanding program of the Gambia Police Force however this program remains weak and not effectively implemented.
It is necessary that community policing is well funded and supported. Ultimately the fight against crime cannot be done by the police all alone.
Community police is the idea that by working with the members of the community the police will be able to contain crime more effectively.
In fact, community policing concept holds that sometimes crime is caused by the social and economic conditions of an individual and not necessary because individuals are violent or vicious. This means some crimes are best solved through mediation within the community and not by going to court.
Above all our police must uphold the standards of the law.
For example, there are standard procedures to arrest and detain.
These standards need to be enforced at all times so as to ensure that there is no abuse.
Secondly our Constitution stipulates that no one should be detained by the police beyond 72 hours. This must be respected too at all times.
In respecting this constitutional requirement, it is also necessary that the police avoid subjecting people to unnecessary bail or reporting routinely to the station.
Through bail and reporting we have realised that a lot of abuse also takes place hence further undermining the public trust and appreciation of the police.
Finally, it is urgently necessary that the Ministry of Interior and the Gambia Police Force review the Police Act.
For example, when you look at the name ‘Gambia Police Force’ in itself you will realise that this is not supposed to be a friendly entity because of the word, ‘Force’. The police are not a ‘force’ rather they are a service.
Force is about power and violence.
Our police are providing a service to citizens by protecting our rights and saving our lives and property.
Therefore, the need to change the name itself is urgent because sometimes names can influence people to act accordingly.
A well-disciplined and effective police service is in the national interest.
It is what each and every citizen need. While we appreciate the police, we must at the same time hold them accountable to ensure that they do not exceed their powers to the point of damaging our rights.
Let’s recognise, appreciate and respect our police.
The vast majority of these officers are indeed among the best sons and daughters of the Gambia.
But let the police also abide by the law at all times.
||Posted - 31 Jul 2019 : 09:24:48
By Mustapha Jallow July 30, 2019
Police and army detachments at the Serrekunda Market have been withdrawn and business continuous as usual.
The detachments of these security personnel came after demonstration by vendors of the Serrekunda Market following the death of their colleague, Ousman Darboe. It is the belief of the vendors that Darboe’s death came as a result of police maltreatment while he was detained at the Anti-Crime Unit. The people demonstrated showing distress about the manner their colleague was allegedly handled. As a result, they came into confrontation with the police.
The protest happened on Wednesday, 24th July 2019 and from that day to Sunday, security personnel, from both the police and army were detached at the Market.
During a fourth visit to the said market, it was noticed that there were no personnel of both the Gambia Armed Forces and Police Intervention Unit (PIU). People continue moving freely, the same as vehicles.
Lamin M. Camara, a store owner said: “Peace is ‘sweet’. Everything has returned to normal. There is nothing ‘sweeter’ than peace. You see how people are waking and going about their businesses’. Conflict always brings disaster and loss of economy.”
GAF spokesperson, Major Lamin K. Sanyang confirmed the withdrawal of GAF members who were deployed to Serrekunda Market.
“We deploy our members only to maintain peace and calm the situation. It was for security measures but since the situation has returned (normal) we sent them back,” he said.
Foroyaa tried to reach the Police Spokesperson on phone, but he did not pick the call.
||Posted - 30 Jul 2019 : 16:56:52
Madi Jobarteh: Armed Men In Public Without Uniforms Threatens National Security
WRITTEN BY Jollof Media Network
July 29, 2019
Officers in plainclothes were deployed last week to quell riots in Serrekunda
The presence of men armed with AK47 rifles with no uniforms on our streets is indeed a new threat to national security in case the Director General of NIA has not noticed.
The Gambia is not a narco-state or engulfed in a civil war neither fighting an insurgency or terrorism. Hence it is utterly unjustified that law enforcement officers of the Gambia could carry assault rifles openly without uniforms while facing ordinary citizens protesting the death of another citizen.
In the first-place assault rifles must not be in the hands of law enforcement agents when they are engaging the civilian population. AK47 is a combat rifle that must not be used ever again by our police as a first instance weapon in controlling crowds. There was no evidence that angry demonstrators in Serre Kunda on July 24 were armed especially with assault rifles so as to warrant a similar response from the police.
Secondly even if the police were to use these weapons in a faceoff with an armed civilian population those officers must be inside their police uniforms. One of the purposes of police putting on uniforms is to ensure identification, legitimacy and accountability. Every Gambian is required to recognise the uniform of the Gambia Police Force. Hence to deploy men without uniforms is to undermine the identification, legitimacy and accountability of those officers in the eyes of the people and therefore undermine the cooperation of the public towards those armed men.
Thirdly the presence of men without uniforms and bearing arms in such situations as a demonstration threatens peace. This is because where such men were to unlawfully use their weapons it will be difficult to identify the shooters. Even where the use of that gun was lawful it has the potential to generate a negative and violent reaction from the demonstrators as they might mistaken the officer to be a criminal. Therefore, this would have endangered the life of that officer just because he was not in a uniform.
Therefore, it is pertinent that we ask why the Anti-Crime Unit command decided to hand weapons to its men knowing fully well that they were not in uniform? What is their objective? If indeed those officers were CID officers as claimed by the Police PRO, I wish to put it to the PRO that CID officers expected to be undercover agents or operate in counter-insurgency scenarios. For that matter it is unjustified to arm CID officers in such public situations.
What we know is that the practice of law enforcement agents bearing such arms openly and in public and without uniforms happens mainly under authoritarian and criminal regimes. They do so because they wish to generate chaos with an objective to shoot to kill identified persons or implicate certain people. Such regimes also employ these tactics in order to create an unpleasant situation that they will now use to justify the creation of more draconian laws or adoption of more oppressive measures against the people. Is this the objective of the Barrow Government?
We all recall how in April 2000 after killing 14 schoolchildren the Jammeh Regime came to say that shooting came out from the protesting students. It appears by then the regime had not fully mastered the gimmicks of notorious regimes in full otherwise they would have planted gunmen inside the students and take their pictures so they can show that as evidence. This is why it is so dangerous to see today, in 2019 after defeating that Dictatorship that this Government would put armed men without uniforms on the streets!
When all is considered it will be clear that this country urgently needs a security sector reform otherwise the peace and security of this country is fast eroding. Since the launch of the security sector program several weeks ago, may we ask the Minister of Justice what is happening so far? The events of July 24 in Brikama and Serre Kunda clearly point to the urgent need for these reforms.
One will find more justification for these reforms when you read the Faraba Commission Report. In that report it was categorically recommended that the IGP should vet all PIU officers and those found to have been involved in torture to be removed. Has the IGP done that? We know that some of the PIU officers deployed in Brikama and Serre Kunda on that fateful day are notorious torturers and killers since 2000! Why are they still in our uniforms?
The Anti-Crime Unit is notorious for torture. The evidence is overwhelming, yet the Gambia Government continues to close its eyes to malpractices that characterised the country under Yaya Jammeh. Those of us monitoring this Unit have reports that the detention conditions at the ACU headquarters are subhuman while various other abuses continue to take place there. The death of Ousman Darboe is a case in point which must be thoroughly investigated.
After 22 years of indiscriminate killing of Gambians by the Gambia Government under Yaya Jammeh, we must not ever again allow a single Gambian to die at the hands of Gambian armed and security forces. So far, we have registered the death of several Gambians at the hands of security forces in Kanilai, Faraba and now Serre Kunda. This is unacceptable and there must be accountability.
Meantime the practice of Gambian law enforcement officers appearing with guns and without uniforms in public must also be investigated and those responsible held accountable.
For The Gambia Our Homeland.
||Posted - 29 Jul 2019 : 16:20:01
Monday, July 29, 2019
The leadership of the United Democratic Party (UDP) has learnt with great distress and indignation, the death of Ousman Darboe, a Serrekunda Market Vendor, following his detention and eventual release from police custody.
The UDP extends its sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the late Mr. Darboe. The UDP urgently calls on the Minister of Interior to ensure that a speedy investigation into events surrounding the death of Mr. Darboe is conducted.
Findings of this investigation should be made public. Should, as the Serrekunda youth claim, the cause of death be related to his arrest, the UDP expects those found wanting to be brought to justice.
Unfortunately, Mr. Darboe’s death led to violent protests, looting and an arson attack on offices of the anti-crime unit and the home of its Unit head, Mr. Mboob. The UDP condemns such violent acts. The Party also commiserates with Mr. Mboob and all other victims of such violence.
As a law abiding Party founded on the principles of the promotion of peace, the UDP recognizes the basic Constitutional rights of Gambians to Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Expression. However, the UDP encourages Gambians, particularly youths who wish to assemble and to protest to respect the Constitution, the laws of The Gambia and to demonstrate respect for the authorities.
The UDP condemns the excessive use of force and calls on the Inspector General of Police, the Minister of Interior and the National Security Council to ensure that the Police Intervention Unit and Crowd Control teams undergo the necessary skills training to control public gatherings and to ensure order with minimal violence.
On a separate issue, the UDP also condemns the violence with which the Police dealt with peaceful protesters of the Occupy BAC, which also unfortunately led to violent scenes in Brikama on Wednesday 24 July.
The UDP acknowledges that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has the discretion to issue permits. However.UDPencourages the IGP to work towards concrete efforts to widen the space for assembly and for expression as spelt out in the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia. Further, the IGP where he cannot issue permits should specify to the requestors why, at that specified period and location, Gambians who wish to express themselves cannot be allowed to do so.
The UDP understands that such anger as demonstrated by Gambian youth this week is not and cannot only be interpreted to be related to the death of Ousman Darboe and Occupy BAC. Rather, it is our view that these actions are linked to the general frustrations of the youth on a host of issues including but not limited to Police violence.
Gambian youths are disillusioned that after having endured and dislodged a 22 year dictatorship, very little has changed in terms of democratic norms. Corruption and cronyism continue to affect service delivery across the board; unemployment is still high while the environment adversely affects job creation initiatives.
The UDP calls on the Government of The Gambia to not only create the enabling environment for Gambians to publicly speak out on issues of concern to them but to also act on improving on the situations that lead to those concerns.
The UDP seizes this opportunity to call on the Party’s youth in particular, Party sympathizers and the Gambian people to desist from any form of violence as a form of expression.
The Secretary General and the Executive Committee of the UDP thank all Gambians and reiterate our calls for calm, restraint and non-violence.
||Posted - 29 Jul 2019 : 16:14:32
"misconceptions and ignorance of the operations of the police."
I totally disagree with this expanded verbal confusion that I have quoted above, it is surley simple to know who are DETECTIVES ie members of the Criminal Investigation department who by their very job discription must deal with criminals without the criminals realising they are POLICE these officers are employed to DETECT crime and arrest offenders.
BY the same token is is totally inapprperate to have officers dressed in civilian clothes waving guns around at demonstrations such civilian dress can easily be misconstrued into thinking these people are rebels who are intent on killing with powerful weapons like the AK47.
PUT SIMPLY OFFICERS AUTHORISED TO USE FIREARMS MUST BE IN UNIFORM AND IDENTIFIABLE.
UNDER EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES CID OFFICERS MAY BE AUTHORISED TO CARRY WEAPONS ON The AUTHORITY OF A NAMED VERY SENION OFFICER OF THE POLICE.
THE STANDARD NEWSPAPER July 29, 2019
By Lamin Cham
The sight of non-uniformed armed men among law enforcement officers during Wednesday’s demonstrations has caused concern and anxiety.
The video and image of the men seen clutching on to AK 47 rifles went viral, with many likening them to ex-president Jammeh’s notorious hit squad, the patrol team or junglers of the new Gambia.
Others called them militia groups. However, many who reserved and delayed their opinions pending further clarifications called on the authorities to explain.
The Standard last night contacted the police communications unit for explanations and Police PRO ASP Lamin Njie said the men are bonafide members of the CID of the police anti- crime unit who are deployed to help in securing lives and property.
“They did not have any bad intentions and are lawful members of the police force.
“The police have different branches namely Prosecution, General duties, Traffic PIU, and CIDs, etc.
It is common knowledge that CIDs don’t go in uniforms.
They were deployed to help in preventing more chaos and safeguarding lives and properties when the situation got very serious on that day,” PRO Njie said.
He also added that there is no cause for alarm.
“All the alarming descriptions and noises are all borne out of misconceptions and ignorance of the operations of the police.
There is no militia or civilian armed group working with the police. All of them are police officers,” he said.
||Posted - 28 Jul 2019 : 20:05:06
July 24, 2019
Gambian authorities have revealed the true scale of damages caused in today’s standoff with angry youths.
Thousands of youths today set up barricades and set tyres on fire in protest at the death of Ousman Darboe, a local shopkeeper.
Darboe was picked up and detained by detectives investigation a burglary in Kerr Sering village.
Police said Darboe was charged with handling stolen goods after a flat screen TV from the burglary was found in his shop.
Police added that some suspects lifted for the burglary had admitted the offence and selling the TV to Darboe.
They said Darboe, an asthma patient, was charged and released within the constitutionally mandated 72 hours.
However, Darboe’s relatives said he was detained for days and tortured resulting in his death shortly after his release.
As news of his death reaches town, thousands of youths took to the streets, set fire and looted the house of the police anti crime unit’s boss.
They also stormed Serrekunda Police Station where they vandalised several police vehicles.
Bakoteh Police Station was also attacked and badly damaged by the youths.
Police said several officers have been injured during the incident.
“Following several acts of vandalism, attacks on the Police and destruction of properties by protesters, the Office of the Inspector General of Police [IGP] is renewing its call for calm and restraint,” said police spokesman, Superintendent David Kujabi.
“In view of the above, the Inspector General’s Office is calling on the public to maintain peace and refrain from gathering around police stations, markets, area council premises and security installations.
“Personnel of the security services will conduct vigorous patrols and checks in order to ensure safety and security of the public.”
Meanwhile,the government has also called for calm and vowed to carry out an independent inquiry into Darboe’s death.
According to a media statement issued late this evening, Ebrima G. Sankareh, government spokesman, the death of Darboe is regrettable and the Government has expressed its heartfelt condolences to his family, relatives and friends.
“The government wants to make it abundantly clear that the Gambia is fully committed to the values of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights,” Sankareh said.
“Consitent with these norms, the Gambia Government will immediately set up an independent enquiry into the circumstances leading to the late Ousman Darboe’s death and if any person or persons were to be found liable, they will face the full force of the law.”
He appealed for calm and advises citizens especially the youth, to stay home and resist the temptation to be violent.
Sankareh added: “The public is urged to refrain from provoking the security forces and all acts of vandalism as evident in the incineration of Police Commissioner Mboob’s residence earlier today at Ebo Town
“The Interior Ministry wants to remind Gambians, that while it is their democratic right to assemble and demonstrate, it is illegal to indulge in arson, looting and all forms of violence against any citizen.
Equally, the Interior Ministry firmly warns against mob justice and admonishes the youth to avoid taking the law into their own hands no matter how painful the circumstances.
“The public is thus reminded that police presence in key locations within our communities was primarily to protect and preserve the law and police officers should therefore, be seen as legitimate custodians of the peace and not troublemakers.”
July 24, 2019
||Posted - 27 Jul 2019 : 18:32:03
July 26, 2019
Police in Bakoteh are looking for detainees who were made to escape when protesters stormed the police station during Wednesday’s protest in Serekunda.
Police spokesperson ASP Lamin Njie confirmed that protesters released some detainees who were being processed in connection with alleged crimes.
He said the police are working round the clock to re-arrest the escaped detainees.
He said they are yet to determine how many detainees have been unlawfully released by the protesters.
ASP Njie also confirmed that the attack on the station led to some injuries to officers.
“Furniture, files, record books, TV set, and the fridge were all burnt or broken,” he lamented.
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