By Tabora Bojang
Pro-democracy activists have called for a national petition to demand the Minister of Justice and Inspector General of Police to investigate alleged excessive and illegal use of force against civilians by the police anti crime unit and its commander Gorgi Mboob.
The activists’ calls are among the latest addition to a growing rage about police brutality and intimidation after allegations that a detainee was brutalised and subjected to forced labour by the head of the unit.
Political science lecturer at the University of The Gambia, Dr Ismaila Ceesay argued that the rampant unprofessional behaviour of security personnel towards citizens in the post Jammeh era laid bare the failure of the authorities to carry out meaningful reforms in the security sector.
“They are recycling them into the system by hijacking the reform agenda but for the stability of this country and for the sanity of this government and also for the sake of our transition, this government must really as soon as possible relieve Gorgi Mboob of his duties, suspend him for now or send him on administrative leave,” he said.
Dr Ceesay, who is the interim leader of Citizens’ Alliance, said the anti crime boss represents and symbolises the old order and regime and should therefore “step aside to bring sanity into the police force.”
“Maintaining him in that position and protecting him is a recipe for destabilising this country,” Ceesay, who was himself arrested and released in 2018 after criticising the president for not doing enough to win the trust of Gambian soldiers, warned.
The Westminster Foundation representative in The Gambia, Madi Jobarteh said he and other activists will work on a public petition to call on the authorities to investigate Gorgi Mboob and his entire personnel for torture allegations.
“We called on the IGP to immediately suspend the head of the anti crime unit and subject him and the unit to investigations of torture. Similarly, I demand the Minister of Justice to open investigations on him and the anti crime unit and take action to ensure accountability.” He said the police anti crime unit and its commander have been accused of committing several incidents of torture, corruption and abuse of power.
“I call on the families and friends of victims of Gorgi Mboob and the anti crime unit and all citizens to individually and collectively file a petition before the Human Rights Commission to launch public investigations on Gorgi Mboob and the Unit and publicly release its findings,” Madi added.
The petition has since started gathering momentum and Gorgi is now placed on administrative leave.