By Omar Bah
One Abdul Aziz Kah has threatened to file a law suit against the Inspector General of Police over an alleged police assault on him at the Banjul ferry terminal on the eve of Tobaski.
Explaining his reasons for a possible legal action against the police, Mr Kah who happens to be the GDC regional chairman for NBR, alleged that he was beaten with a wooden stick by personnel of the Police Intervention Unit under the command of one Touray.
“Touray met me standing at the gate beside a blue van and asked for the owner of the van. When I replied that I didn’t know, he said I was lucky because had I been the owner he knew what to do with me. When I asked what he intended to do he told me to shut up and I replied I would not shut up. That was when he ordered his officers to deal with me and take me to the station because I was belittling him in front of his juniors,” Kah told The Standard.
He further alleged that the police heavily beat him and it was only when Touray saw him bleeding that he ordered the officers to stop, who then handcuffed him and took him to the station.
“When we reached the station Touray told his seniors that I blocked the traffic and that when they attempted to arrest me, I resisted which was never true. I wonder how I can block traffic when I do not even have a license talk less of a car,” Kah alleged.
He said during the incident he lost his IPhone 6 and his pocket money.
Mr Kah said he is disappointed because he never thought that police brutality still exists in the new Gambia.
The Standard last night contacted police PRO David Kujabi who gave his version of the incident, saying that on that very day the terminal was jam-packed and traffic was blocked completely. He said police officers tried to find out what was holding up the traffic and they found a car parked just around the gate obstructing the flow of traffic.
“So they were trying to find the owner because there was no driver inside the vehicle and that was when they found a gentleman, believed to be Mr Kah whom they asked about the owner of the car but he answered in a very arrogant and rude manner and started insulting the officers and saying all kind of nonsense,” Kujabi said.
He alleged that Mr Kah conducted himself in a disorderly manner and that was when the PIU officers around there were asked to arrest him but he resisted arrest and so the police had a duty to arrest him by all means using minimum and reasonable force.
“It was when they were trying to arrest him that he and one officer fell on the ground and that is how he sustained injuries. He was never knocked or beaten,” PRO Kujabi said.
The PRO said he is surprised that Mr Kah is threatening to sue the police because when they reached the police station, he had realized his mistake and apologized to the station officer and his father Tamsir Kah also called the station officer to apologize.
“All that is recorded in the station diary because he was going to be charged with idle and disorderedly conduct.
“We are equally shocked when we heard that the GDC are complaining that the police maltreated their regional chairman. But we had no knowledge or idea whether he was associated with any political party or not and any case we were dealing with a citizen of The Gambia whom we have given all due respect. I do not know what his interest is or why anybody should politicize this incident,” he said.
The Police PRO however said if Mr Kah wants to sue the IGP he can go ahead and they will meet in court.
“But let me begin by saying that this matter has nothing to do with politics because I understand Mr Kah is claiming to be a GDC regional chairman. This has nothing to do with GDC or whatever, he is just an individual we were dealing with and we are not going to bow down at the end of the day because it is our responsibility to apply the law on anybody who breaks it. If you break the law and got arrested you cannot just come and use a political party to paint it as a political act,” Kujabi added.
The PRO said the police will not be cowed down from carrying out its duties.
“We let this man go because his father has pleaded on his behalf but if he wants to sue the IGP, he can go ahead,” Kujabi warned.