By Omar Bah
& Momodou Torp
A number of people were arrested in Brikama as police tried to disperse demonstrators, dubbed #OccupyBAC, who defied police advice to stage a protest against what they called the poor performance of the local area council.
In the ensuing melee which lasted hours, police used tear gas in a bid to stop the protest in which several people including the coordinator of the protest Ismael Fadera were reported to have been hospitalized after suffering complications.
Rescue workers from the National Disaster Management Agency were busy collecting injured people and dropping them at the Brikama Health Centre as market vendors and other curious people looked on helplessly.
The police also confiscated T-shirts and banners the protesters printed.
Report said protesters who were out to show their frustration over BAC’s lack of responsiveness to needs of the people of West Coast were denied permit despite being reportedly told they have met all the requirements.
The arrested protesters are reportedly detained at Mandinaba and Banjulinding police stations respectively.
Speaking on behalf of protesters, Abubacarr Darboe said they feel betrayed and disappointed by government.
“This is not what we expected when we went to the polls.
It is unprofessional from the police to deny us permit.”
He said on Tuesday they were invited by the IGP and also had a meeting with the deputy CDS, President’s Security adviser and other senior government officials who advised them to cancel the demonstration but they refused.
“So when we converged at the Jah Oil we met the PIU officers who started fearing tear gas and spraying rubber bullets on us,” he alleged.
The group said the council failed in providing basic facilities such as roads, standard markets, lack of proper waste collection system, mishandling of vendors at the markets and poor drainage system among others.
“The public has lost confidence in the council authorities.”
They demanded the immediate release of the arrested protesters or arraigned them before a court within 72 hours.
Meanwhile and almost at the same time all hell broke loose in Serekunda and Senegambia strip where hundreds of demonstrators took to the Highway burning car tires and throwing stones at the police whom they accused of causing the death of a market vendor.
The man, Ousman Darboe a Sierra Leonean died at Medicare on Tuesday days after being released from the police anti-crime unit where he was held in connection with alleged possession of stolen goods.
However, his colleagues at the market and their friends claimed he was tortured and blamed the police for his death.
They marched to the anti-crime unit office near Bijilo to demand justice.
A huge commotion ensured as the police tried to disperse them and remove road blocks.
Meanwhile as the evening approached, the police came out with a statement on the incident:
The office of the Inspector General of Police received disturbing information about a mob of angry youths marching towards the Anti Crime Unit to protest the demise of Ousman Darboe.
The Office of the IGP is calling on the youth to observe calm and restraint.
Ousman Darboe’s name came up during investigations into a breaking and stealing incident that occurred at Kerr Serign on 11th July 2019. Suspects in the said case confessed selling items stolen from the Kerr Serign incident to Ousman Darboe.
Investigators visited his shop at Serekunda market where a flat screen television set, part of the stolen items was recovered in his possession.
On the 12th July 2019, he was arrested and charged with receiving stolen properties contrary to the laws of the Gambia.
On Monday the 15th of July 2019, he was granted bail within 72hours as specified by law and was subsequently reporting on bail.
Ousman Darboe during his detention was said to be an asthmatic patient as shown by medical papers tendered by his family which prompted his bail.
The Inspector General’s Office assures the public that it will continue a probe into the death of Ousman Darboe and the outcome will be duly communicated to ascertain the cause of death.
In this regard, the public is urged to maintain the peace and security of the country”.
As we went to press, we were reliably informed that the house of the anti crime unit commander Gorgi Mboob has been set on fire.