By Mafugi Ceesay
The Ministerof the Interior, Ebrima Mballow has told The Standard that his ministry through the Gambia Immigration Department, has opened an investigation into the Gambian asylum seekers arrested in Italy on terrorism suspicions.
When asked whether his ministry is doing something about the issue, Minister Mballow replied: “Of course, we are doing something about it…How can we not do something about something of that nature?”
“It is a concern and I can confirm to you that we have opened an investigation into the matter. The Immigration Department is leading the investigation but I cannot tell anything more than that for now,” he said.
David Kujabi, the police spokesman, who was in Darfur when the first incident emerged, told The Standard that terrorism is a global concern and it should be taken seriously.
He said the issue of Gambians switching to dangerous groups has reached the Interpol who, according to him, are doing their best about a delicate global phenomenon.
“Our officers at Interpol are aware of it but these things require expertise, experience and resources. Considering the OIC summit is just at the corner, our alertness to this should be at its peak,” he said.
David advised people to be aware of these threats and to report anything to the police.
Gambians have been raising concern over the security situation of the country but mainly the initial possible threats from absconded loyalists of the former president following his shock election defeat in December 2016.
However, a much bigger threat is now terrorism after seeing at least three young Gambians publicly pledging allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.
The first came in March last year when a young Gambian, Dawda Jallow, appeared in an ISIS video threatening to bomb places.
Initially thought as an isolated incident, that changed when two others, Alagie Touray and Ousman Sillah, were arrested in Italy on the verge of carrying out attacks, with Alagie promised of €1500 in compensation.
Ahead of the much anticipated Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit in Banjul next year, the threat of terrorism is back in national discourse, considering the number of young Gambians joining terrorist groups.