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Detention without trial, disappearance without trace

Dec 12, 2011, 12:56 PM

Recently, a local newspaper has again highlighted what it calls detention without trial or disappearance without trace of Gambian civilians and security personnel.

 The issue is now becoming a burning issue in the country, and concerted efforts are needed to remedy the situation.

According to local news report, several Gambian civilians and security personnel are allegedly in custody without being taken into court, while others are nowhere to be traced.

Some of the affected families reportedly spoke to Foroyaa, the local newspaper, about their detained or missing relatives.

It is an alarming situation in a small country like The Gambia, for someone to go missing for months or years. It does not tell well about the country.

The state is the primary duty bearer, through its various security apparatus, to provide for the security of all Gambians and non- Gambians living in the country.

If someone gets missing in The Gambia for weeks, months or years in some cases, without trace, the tendency is that people would feel unsafe and insecure in the country.

While some of the affected families renew their hope and faith in the Almighty Allah that their relatives will one day rejoin them, others lament lack of any hope of seeing their relatives again.

For the latter, they would no doubt continue to pray for those responsible for the disappearance of their loved ones to be punished by Allah.

Since this kind of prayer is usually answered by God, most people are now resorting to it, and perpetrators must be paying the price one by one.

In our view, the issue of disappearance and detention without trial is something the authorities must do something about.

They must ensure, at all times, that anyone arrested be brought before a court of law and, for those said to be missing, special investigation panels should be launched to trace them, provided that they are alive.