Gambian security reveals more shaky conditions

Feb 22, 2021, 10:41 AM

As the Standing Committee on Defence and Security of the National Assembly continues its fact finding mission tour, major challenges facing the various security units from NBR to URR have been highlighted.

Bakary F.L. Colley, Officer Commanding (OC) at Lamin Koto Army Camp, disclosed to the committee that the lack of a medical unit at the camp is seriously affecting them, noting that if a soldier falls sick, he or she has to be rushed to the nearest health facility for treatment which he said shouldn’t be.

He added that the challenges they mostly face are cross border crimes, mobility, feeding, accommodation, fuel allocations and lack of modern technology amongst others.

Speaking at Janjangbureh Police, Juldeh Camara, deputy commissioner of station said they do not receive any transport allowance in the rural areas and that’s why many officers never want to be posted to the provinces.

He added that they are in serious need of uniforms, shoes and for standard record keeping, they also need a computer, a printing and photocopy machine to ease their work.

At the Bansang Police Station, the regional police commissioner, Malamin Sankareh, disclosed that most of the cases within the region are road accidents, rape and gender violence as other stations stressed the same.

Babucarr Jatta, commissioner of Janjangbureh Prison, also noted that officers are not given any risk allowances despite the work they do.

He expressed dissatisfaction with the government, saying that they neglect them and as a result, they are losing officers because they are not motivated and the situations they face are terrible.

He also noted that regardless of the low salary they earn, each officer contributes D300 at every end of month for lunch feeding and when it comes to breakfast and dinner, each officer struggles for him or herself on a daily basis.

“Without the efforts of the prison officers, the country will find it very difficult to maintain its peace and stability.”

According to him, the prison currently has 64 inmates and as there is no high court in the entire region, they find it very difficult to escort detainees to Mansakonko and Basse for court hearings, outlining that they have only one vehicle available for them which is not even in good order.

He added that it is not standard to escort detainees with a pickup vehicle, revealing that they had a series of scenarios in which inmates tried to jump from the pickup to escape but thanks to his alert and diligent officers who always make sure none of those detainees ever succeeded.

When asked about his view after visiting various security institutions by this reporter, the chairman of the committee, who doubles as deputy dpeaker of the National Assembly, Momodou L.K. Sanneh, said after receiving complaints from various police stations, military camps and the Janjanbureh prison, it will serve as a guiding principal factor for the committee to prepare a strong report that would be submitted to the National Assembly.

“In honesty, I am not happy with what I saw at the prison, the condition of the prisoners is not encouraging and something needs to be done to uplift the status of the prison because they are human beings,” Hon. Sanneh said.

He added that the headquarters of the prison staff is not fit for human beings to use, and also added that the prison staff is living a horrible life at the prison yard which needs urgent attention.