Adama Barrow has warned that the kind of protest that took place in Kanilai,
the village of former president Yahya Jammeh, would not be tolerated from any
community or group from anywhere in The Gambia.
The Gambian leader was reacting to a violent protest in Kanilai on Friday when dozens of youth from in and around the village took to the streets near the military camps in Kanilai demanding the withdrawal of ECOMIG soldiers from the vicinity of the village.
In his reaction through a Facebook post from Liberia, where he was attending the ECOWAS Summit, Barrow said he would promote democracy, freedom and rule of law and encourage reconciliation in The Gambia.
“But I will not accept violence, lack of respect for authority, and the rule of law,” he said, adding that Gambians have decided a change of government on the 1st December 2016.
“I call on all to join my government and promote democracy, freedom and rule of law. Let us focus on our reform agenda and build a foundation where democracy and development will thrive and citizens live in dignity and respect for rule of law.”
One died, 22 arrested
In a televised statement yesterday, Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty condemned the protest, calling it an act of provocation against members of the security forces.
According to him, security reports revealed that some members of the protesters were armed with traditional weapons and one of their demands was the removal of security personnel from the Kanilai area.
“Unfortunately, during the tense standoff between the group of armed demonstrators and members of the security forces deployed in the area [Kanilai], two members of the group and one ECOMIG soldiers were wounded resulting in the regrettable death on 3 June of the demonstrators at the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital in Banjul,” he said.
Meanwhile, the minister confirmed the arrest of 22 protesters.
“There were 22 people arrested from the incident while the village head of Kanilai and others went into hiding but efforts are on the way to find them,” he said.
Fatty pointed out that President Barrow had convened an emergency security meeting with the security chiefs to address the circumstances prevailing in the country particularly the Kanilai incident.
He said the presence of the ECOMIG soldiers in The Gambia was caused by the former president when he refused to step down and hand over power peacefully after he was voted out of office on December 1 presidential election.
He noted that the Constitution of The Gambia guarantees the rights for peaceful protest or freedom of assembly or association but it must be exercised within the confines of the law.
“You either abide by the law or you will be consumed by the law,” the tough-talking interior minister said.