Riot police on Sunday evening fired tear gas at a crowd of supporters belonging to the “No-to-Alliance” faction of the APRC at the Tallinding Youth Centre. Among those tear-gassed was the National Assembly Member for Foñi Jarrol, Tumanding Sanneh.

At a press briefing in Lamin yesterday, the “No-to-Alliance” leader, Yaya Tamba, said two hours into the fundraiser, the police invited the organisers to Bundung station and told them that the permit issued to them was revoked and that they should stop the event.

He said while they were negotiating at the station, a PIU contingent was sent to disrupt the fundraising event, fire teargas and arrest people. Among those tear-gassed was NAM Sanneh who, he said, was trying to calm the situation.

Mr Tamba said at least 20 were “victimised” and that nine people were admitted at the nearby Ahmadiyya and Bundung hospitals.

He said a score of people were arrested and detained at the Denton Bridge and later released.

In the ensuing melee after the police fired the tear gas, he said many people lost their valuables including mobile phones with one woman losing D11,000 cash that was in her purse.

Mr Tamba said they applied for a permit on 31 December and it was approved on 2 January and that on Sunday between 5 to 6pm Police Commissioner Gass Sabally conducted a spot check and ascertained that there was no violation of the permit rules.

“Between 7 to 8pm, the taskforce responsible for the fundraising were called for a dialogue at Bunding Police Station only to be informed that the permit was revoked at the time when people were at the venue…” he explained.

Tamba said they were informed that they were using a logo of APRC, a party they did not belong to.

He said they organised similar fundraisers in the past two years without even requesting for a permit and that they were not harassed.

He said the action of the police was “unethical, unprofessional, and very irresponsible” ” and that the “brutality” meted out to his people was “callous and unjustified”.

“Is this the type of government that we expect to provide peace and security for Gambians? We want the whole world to understand that there is no justice in The Gambia with regard to political affiliations. This is the most criminal, illegal action by the security forces,” he charged.

Calls for investigation

Addressing yesterday’s press briefing, Foñi Kansala NAM, Almameh Gibba, called on the Inspector General of Police to immediately investigate the “police brutality”.

“We are calling on the police to investigate as soon as possible to know the cause of disrespecting the honourable member who is voted to represent his constituency. Justice must be seen to be done, and justice must be accorded and the rule of law must be respected… The police are supposed to guard and protect the lives and properties of people. So, this is uncalled for and we are calling for justice in this matter,” he urged.

The Standard repeatedly contacted the police spokesperson for a reaction without success.

Source: The Standard

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