Interior Minister urged to take tough measures to address security lapses
By Cherno Omar Bobb
A seasoned Gambian security expert has urged the Minister of Interior to take tough measures to address the country’s security challenges.
Modou Lamin Faye, a US-based Gambian criminologist, specialising on law enforcement and national security crisis, said Minister Seyaka Sonko should be able to identify what the country’s internal security forces need to perform or execute their duty in safeguarding the country.
“I want to take the opportunity to thank you and your team for reaching out to the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to The Gambia, His Excellency Ambassador Lui Jin, to work together and strengthen the country’s security,” he said.
“This is a good example of what the Gambian people expect from every senior government official or head of a department. If everyone holding a higher position in the government do their part and spend more time going out in the field to hunt for what The Gambia needs to evolve or pave the way for generations to come and spend less time sitting in their offices bossing people around, then I have no doubt that we will progress.”
Faye says he hopes the Minister’s good work continues and that other senior government officials would learn from him, be productive, and get “out of their offices to see what their departments need to better serve the public”.
“But honourable Minister, while I commend you, I would also like to stress the fact that time is against our officers who are on the frontline. The robbery incident that happened on Sunday, February 12th, 2023, at one of the PIU checkpoints in Fass Njaga Choi where one officer, Lamin Jammeh, was shot in his left hand and two others severely wounded is a good example that we need to move fast and train the public, especially these officers,” he said.
Faye said the country’s security officers should be mentally and psychologically prepared to use lethal force to eliminate a threat.
“We should train them to mentally, psychologically, and physically be prepared to quickly react to threats like the incident in Fass Njaga Choi and use lethal force when necessary to save themselves and others,” he advised, saying: “The Fass Njaga Choi incident wasn’t the only incident that happened around our borders, which is sad because the government failed to put measures in place to make sure something like that doesn’t happen again.
“I understand that the word ‘deadly force’ might sound like a big deal in The Gambia, but may I highlight the fact that enforcing laws and using whatever force necessary to eliminate a threat does not go with social norms or with people’s feelings. Because we worry so much about the public opinion on how we enforce the laws of the land to deter people from committing horrific crimes like this; the criminals use that to their advantage and have the audacity to harm the citizens who pay taxes to be protected.”
Faye said sending officers to the frontline without properly equipping them while top officials like the Interior Minister are peacefully sitting in their offices or homes “isn’t fair to our officers and their families”.
“Therefore, it’s time to step up to these bad guys who are freely crossing our borders to come and do whatever they want, and leave,” he said. “We also need to understand that we have more people from all over the world with different styles of living in The Gambia and they know how our security forces operate or respond to crimes.”