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Father sprayed with gas, statue of Mary vandalised in Bakau

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By Lamin Cham

Two people have been arrested by the Police Intervention Unit on Sunday after an attack on the Star of the Sea Church in Bakau. The duo are said to be part of a large group which also attacked and pepper sprayed Father Peter Jammeh and vandalised the statue of the blessed Mary, while people were attending mass.

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According to Father Jammeh the incident happened around 9 am on Sunday and the mob first attacked and took away the bag of a woman and when he intervened, more men showed up brandishing knives and threatening to stab him.

“I think the attackers numbered about ten, some of them drunk and carrying alcohol. They sprayed me with a gas cannister, attacked and vandalised the statue of the Blessed Mary at the entrance of the church. This incident has all the hallmarks of a well organised, planned and calculated attack,” Father Jammeh said.

He said the PIU were called and succeeded in initially arresting three of the attackers but one of the arrested men managed to escape.  He said most of the gang members too fled the scene and are still at large.

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The Standard strolled past the church yesterday evening and was told that plain cloth police were among the crowd on the lookout for the hooligans. A senior policeman in KM confirmed the incident, describing it as a’ very serious crime’.

Meanwhile in a separate case, Whats -On Gambia on Sunday reported that two people sustained injuries Saturday night during a clash between Muslims and Christians in Tallinding.

It said a group of young Muslims allegedly attacked worshippers at the Kingdom Vision Ministries for playing loud music while the daily Ramadan Taraweeh was ongoing.

According to Whats on Gambia this is how the conflict started:

”On July 1, 2022, some members of the Talllinding Muslim community wrote to the IGP requesting him to close the church. In their letter, they claimed since the inception of the church, which is run by Nigerians, they have been causing sound pollution through overly loud church services.

“The IGP responded, saying he doesn’t have the power to close the church and advised them to re-direct their request to the Ministry of Religious Affairs.”.

The Standard tried confirmation of this incident from the police but could not reach the PRO on both the official and other numbers and no one responded to our enquiries sent by text, until press time.

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