rights activists and individuals concerned about the rights, welfare and
protection of children and women yesterday frowned at the arrest of women and
children at Kanfenda, in Foni.
to reports, the incident happened on Saturday when coalition supporters who
attended the 52nd independence anniversary celebration and inauguration of
President Adama Barrow were in a bus returning from the Kombos.
Kanfenda, the bus stopped and a child with a plate of oranges approached the
bus, when the passengers told her that they would not buy the orange of a
the statement turned into a bitter quarrel between the passengers and the
people around the area, with exchanges of insults.
the bus left, a few minutes later, trucks of paramilitary men stormed the area
arresting almost everyone in the area regardless of who was involved.
report indicated that more than 50 people were arrested, and half of those
arrested were children and women, including a pregnant woman and some nursing
of those who were arrested also wore APRC T-shirts. It was also confirmed that
children as young as 13 years old were arrested and kept at both Bwiam and
Brusubi police stations, without being told why they are in custody and when
they will be released.
friends and loved ones from Kanfenda and the Kombos who heard the news
yesterday morning paid fare and went to the Brusubi Police Station, to find out
whether their loved ones and relatives are kept there.
to some of them who were found at the police station, they were surprised
because they did not even know why their people were arrested, and taken all
the way from Bwiam to Brusubi Police Station.
of them told this reporter that the station officer told them they had received
a directive from the government to either released them or take them to court.
of the family members also denied being affiliated to any political party,
saying that they were just arrested whilst they were on their way to some
places, after the paramilitary stormed the area.
to a child rights activist in Bwiam, who wants to remain anonymous, “the manner
in which the children were arrested and taken to the police stations is very
said the paramilitary just arrested everyone they found at the scene, after the
bus that caused the problem left. He said the country is looking for ways and
means of reconciliation, but the way and manner things are being handled in
such cases will not bring about any positive change.
said they are not interested in which party they belong to and who started the
fight, but the fact that they are women and children who deserved to be treated
well and protected, and that the government should do something about it fast.
He said that women and children should not be treated like such, just because
they are found in the middle of a quarrel.
said adults should be able to help children grow in a violence-free
environment, but that this could not happen when they cause problems and make
the children to suffer for those problems.
blamed the ones who took part in the arrest, saying that he is fully convince
that they know that the ones they are arresting are children, but they still
went ahead and arrested them.
also added that as Gambians, there is no way that development can take place if
whenever there is a problem, those who suffer are children and women and those
arresting them are men who are husbands and fathers.
said there is need for dialogue so that peace will reign in our neighbourhood,
and people can learn to live in peace and harmony without hurting each other’s
feelings with words.
Fatou Janneh said it is unfortunate how people want to turn the country into
these days. She asked what happened to the unity and peaceful co-existence that
we as a nation enjoyed before politics started dividing us, and making us turn
ourselves into each other’s enemy.
said those in the bus that started the fight, even if they are coalition
supporters, should not go scot-free to the detriment of those women and
children who are behind bars for nothing.
said Gambians, whether they are coalition or APRC supporters, should eschew
vengeance and work to develop the country.
called on the government to release all the women and children arrested, and
send out words of advice to those who were in that bus that caused the trouble
so that they will stop using remarks like that on their fellow Gambians.
also condemned the behaviour of the security officers who arrested the nursing
mothers and a pregnant woman, saying that should be a thing of the past now, if
the government really respects the women of this country.