“The National Security Council was convened today, on the authority of the president Adama Barrow to discuss serious national security challenges and with a view to resolving them. Yesterday, 2nd June, 2017, a group of people from villages from Foni, Kanilai area and satellite villages and border villages inside Casamance staged violent demonstrations against and attacked security forces deployed in and out of Kanilai, home village of the former president,” Gambia’s Interior Minister Mai Fatty told Gambians during a televised address on the state controlled TV GRTS, late Saturday evening. Mr. Fatty, who had to cut his trip short to Liberia, where he represented The Gambia at the ECOWAS security Ministerial meetings, claimed that the protesters were armed and provocative.
“According to intelligence security reports members of the group, who were armed with traditional weapon engaged in provocative act against members of the security forces in the area, and made some demands and one of which was removal of security personnel from the Kanilai area,” Fatty added. He reassured Gambians that the government will do everything in its means to keep them safe at all time. He also warned lawbreakers to brace up to face the full brunt of the law if apprehended. Fatty warns that anyone who negates or took the law into his hands would face justice.
He noted that the ECOMIG forces would not have been in the Gambia, had been that Jammeh had allowed a peaceful transfer to power. Jammeh’s defiant attitude, he said warranted ECOWAS intervention.
” Enough is enough. You either abide the law or you will be consumed by the law,” Fatty warned. He said no community will violate the law and get away with it.
The protesters he said were burning tires, obstructing traffic, hence causing commotion in the area, Fatty also said the protesters failed to secure a permit from the Inspector General to organize the protest. This he went on, was contrary to the laws of the Gambia.
Minister Fatty’s statement came in the wake of the killing of a 54 year old Kanilai man Haruna Jatta, who was shot dead by the Senegalese Security forces stationed at Kanfenda. Mr. Jatta was together with four other protesters, He subsequently scummed to his demise. His remains were laid to rest on Saturday amid public outrage in Kanilai and its surrounding villages.
“Gambians have the right to protest peacefully and democratically. We will not take that from you. Your right to protest will be respected, but all protest marches should be done peacefully,” he remarked adding that ECOMIG forces are here to help consolidate Gambia’s democracy and to facilitate reforms in restructuring the security forces.
In a Facebook posting Mai Fatty talked about cutting his Monrovia trip short in view of the recent political disturbances.
“I cut short my trip to Monrovia where I represented The Gambia at ECOWAS security Ministerial meetings, and returned home today to focus attention on internal security developments. In addition to on-going far-reaching durable measures aimed at strengthening public security and national stability, I will address the Nation tonight within minutes. The peace, safety and security of our nation and people must remain top most priority,” Fatty remarked.
“As I am speaking to you, about 22 people have been arrested. Some have fled the village. The village Alkalo of Kanilai, is in hiding because the travesty of law was committed. If you protest outside the law, you will be contained by the law,” Fatty added.
In another development, couple of military and police intervention unit (PIU) trucks arrived in Kanilai on Saturday to raid the village. Dozens of youths were arrested and taken into custody. The security personnel will arrest anyone found loitering in the streets. Some of villagers have fled to the bush and neighboring Senegal, in an attempt to evade arrest.