UDP accuses the police of unprofessionalism

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The leadership of United Democratic Party (UDP) in Tallinding has accused the police stations in Bundung and Tallinding of “openly supporting the APRC supporters” in the intermittent violence between the supporters of UDP and APRC.

In a strongly worded press statement issued yesterday, the UDP leadership in Tallinding accused the two police stations of siding with the supporters of the former ruling party at the detriment of peace in Tallinding.

Below we reproduce the press release verbatim.

The leadership of Tallinding UDP is dismayed and appalled by the repugnant behaviour of the APRC supporters of the town and the abhorrent manner in which the police in Tallinding and Bundung handled the matter.

Since the defeat of Ex-President Yahya Jammeh in last year’s polls, the supporters of the APRC have physically assaulted our supporters in unprovoked attacks on numerous occasions causing bodily harm and five of these cases have been reported to both police stations but the actions of this violent supporters remain unabated, forcing us to wince and aghast at their cruelty. An inference can therefore be drawn that they are supported by the police whose priority should be to protect lives and properties irrespective of affiliation.

Even after the documented abuses meted on our supporters by the thugs of the APRC during Jammeh’s misrule, we continue to upheld the spirit of the law and now that positions have switched, one would’ve expected them to take cue from us and be law abiding. It is therefore an irony that they continue to assault our supporters beginning from the day Adama Barrow was elected President. Our attackers stormed out from the compound of Kanifing Mayor, Yankuba Colley, and a similar incident repeated on the same spot on the day Fatoumatta Jawara was nominated. The third attack came on a day when we held a joint meeting with the Latrikunda Sabiji Constituency candidate at the Buffer Zone leading to many people sustaining injuries, including young girls. We were again attacked in another meeting at Tallinding Sicap. All these were reported to the police and the IEC, the latter in a letter copied to the IGP of Police, the Commissioner of Police for Kanifing Division and the Station Officer of both Bundung and Tallinding, but to no avail. The same trend continues after Musa Badjie won the Councillor election.

“We were patient for 22 years and no UDP supporter ever attacked them when we lose elections and there was no ordeal that we didn’t go through in their hands and there were police who supported them. We thought that we had voted for a change for the interest of the country but even after that change, Mayor Yankuba Colley stood on a campaign platform urging his supporters to attack us, thus inciting violence,” Fatoumatta Jawara said.  “Both Bundung and Tallinding police stations are openly supporting the APRC supporters and they are encouraging violence. APRC said Yahya Jammeh is worth everything to them but our supporters are also worth everything to us. The police in Tallinding and Bundung are all APRC sympathisers and if we did this as an opposition they would’ve killed us all. OC Conta of Tallinding is complicit so is Chief Superintendent Samba Jawo, the OC of Bundung, who was seen in an APRC T-Shirt during the political impasse.”

The latest incident occurred on Wednesday 24th May, 2014, when results started trickling in. Supporters stormed Musa Badjie’s house and one Alhagie Conteh, who lives in Tallinding Sicap passed by his APRC opponent Babucarr Mansally’s street, because they live in the same area, then a girl called Anty Priari abused him verbally by raining insults at him. The matter was reported at the Tallinding police and when they came to effect arrest, they said the lady wasn’t well and instead asked Alhagie to report to them 4pm the next day. At around 9am the next day, he was heading to school through the same street when another girl called Sarata Badjie, an APRC supporter, insulted and physically attacked him causing Alhagie sustaining serious injuries to the face.

“When the matter reached the police, supporters of both the UDP and APRC stormed the station where they fought. When I was called, I found Alhagie was escorted to the Serrekunda Hospital. Upon my arrival, the deputy commissioner of police Lamin King Colley also arrived shortly at the scene and before anything he pounced on the UDP supporters, physically striking them with abaton,” Councillor Badjie said. “This is unprofessional and uncalled for in the New Gambia; this shows that the police do not have any structure because if a senior officer [like King Colley] should come and pounce on supporters like that I think he has a personal vendetta. The aggrieved supporters of the UPD are considering legal action against him and that of the SO of both Tallinding and Bundung.  Lamin King Colley, we are aware is a good friend of APRC leader Fakabary Tombong Jattaand he did a lot of unruly things here during Jammeh’s misrule.”

Even after both parties negotiated to withdraw the case from the police, they refused and instead transferred the matter to the Bundung Station where they released Sarata Badjie and detained Alhagie Conteh the complainant. Because he is a student, Alhagie was supposed to sit to an examination the next day and his guardian had to negotiate with them to get him on bail when he gave the police D400, this tantamount to bribery which is wrong and unethical.

“I blamed the police for the fact they didn’t act on the first complaint leading to the second incident; secondly, why would the police want to proceed with the matter to court when both parties wanted to withdraw the case only for them to extort money from the complainants family, and why would the police support a political party that is known for violence all over the country,” Musa Badjie added.

“Consequently, UDP Tallinding would like to state, without any ambiguity, that any unprovoked attack on its supporters by the APRC will lead to a serious retaliation from our side. We will no longer tolerate their aggressive behaviour. For 22 years they have abused us and each time they got arrested, ex-nominated MP Babou Gaye Sonko and others used their influence to release them unconditionally.”