of people mainly young people on Wednesday morning took to the street of the
busy Serrekunda Market to protest against the death of one Ousman Darboe, a
36-year-old Sierra Leonean.
The deceased was a resident of Dippa Kunda in the Kanifing Municipality. Family members and friends claimed that the deceased died as a result of ‘alleged torture’ in the hands of members of the Anti Crime Unit (ACU) of The Gambia Police Force (GPF) who arrested him earlier this month.
However, the police denied any wrongdoing, saying Mr. Darboe was released on bail after his arrest in connection with buying a stolen property. He was an asthmatic patient, police claimed, while calling for calm and restraint as investigation into the circumstances of his death continues.
Police fired teargas to disperse the angry protesters. Stones were thrown at the Serrekunda Police Station where the protest began. Angry protesters also burned cartons and firewoods on the main Serrekunda highway. Traffic was also blocked as a result of the protest and shops were closed around the area.
Police arrested six people in connection with the matter. Some protesters held banners with the inscription ‘No to Police Brutality’ and marched towards Bambo, demanding justice for the death of Mr. Darboe. A member of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) and a passer-by sustained injuries as a result of stoning.
The late Mr. Darboe was married to a Gambian woman and had two children. Darboe used to own a shop at the Serrekunda Market around a place called ‘Black Market’ where he sold laptops and mobile phones.
The protesters also went to Ebou Town and burned down a compound belonging to Chief Superintendent Gorgie Mboob, the commander of the Anti Crime Unit of The Gambia Police Force (GPF).
Binta Jaiteh, the wife of the deceased who spoke to The Point in tears described the incident as ‘shocking’ and called on the government to ensure rapid investigation into the matter and bring the culprits to justice.
She said her husband informed her that a man came to his shop with a TV and requested a loan from him. “The money was given to the man, but my husband never knew that the TV was a stolen property. Unfortunately, within few hours personnel of the ACU called him and asked him to report to their Office in Bijilo,” she said, while alleging that the police are responsible for the death of her husband.
The President of ECOWAS Citizens in The Gambia, Michel Pokpaye Koivogui, described the incident as ‘sad’. He said: “We’re here to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Ousman Darboe. At the moment I can’t tell you anything. But we will follow up the matter with the authorities and we will also conduct our investigation.”