Banjul – The Economic Community of West African States, Ecowas, has challenged Yahya Jammeh to bring to trial perpetrators of politically motivated deaths in Gambia.  Hooligan and blocked-brain security officers on Yahya Jammeh’s payroll last week murdered at least three opposition members who were engaged in a peaceful protest march just outside Gambia’s capital, Banjul.

The death of Solo Sandeng, senior opposition figure of the main opposition United Democratic Party and two others, sparked further protests on Saturday led by party leader Ousainou Darboe. Mr Darboe, his entire executive and many others were arrested after police moved in to checkmate the protest.

Ecowas in a statement by its commission yesterday, expressed sadness over developments coming out of Gambia.

It said, “The political situation in the Islamic State of The Gambia is marked by the arrest, detention and death of some opposition leaders following demonstrations advocating political reforms prior to the presidential election scheduled to hold in December 2016.

“ECOWAS reiterates that the consolidation of peace and stability in the Islamic State of The Gambia can only result from a consensual, inclusive and nationally-owned process and respect for constitutional order.

“ECOWAS therefore calls on the political stakeholders including opposition members and civil society organizations to display a profound sense of civic responsibility and patriotism in the exercise of their civil rights to peaceful assembly.

“ECOWAS further calls on the government of the Islamic State of The Gambia to ensure the freedom of expression and strict adherence to the rule of law and the principles of human rights. The Commission further appeals to the Gambian security forces to put up a republican comportment and refrain from the use of any form of excessive force while maintaining law and order.

“The ECOWAS Commission extends its deep condolences to the families of the deceased persons and calls on the government of the Islamic State of The Gambia to shed light on the circumstances that led to the recent unfortunate event.

“The ECOWAS Commission will continue monitoring the situation, and expresses its readiness to support the Authorities and citizens of the Islamic State of The Gambia for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.”

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