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Mass arrests in post election violence

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The police have arrested dozens of people from across the country in connection to reports of violence in the aftermath of last week’s parliamentary election.

The Independent Candidate for Brikama North Momodou Bu Jarju, who lost to Alhagie S Darboe of the UDP in last week’s election, was arrested and charged with assault.

According to official police sources, the incident happened on Election Day April 6 between the hours of 18.30 to 19:30 when a group of jubilant fans of UDP were on the streets celebrating their victory.
“As the group arrived around the compound of Mr. Momodou Jarju chanting, drumming, singing and dancing, it was alleged that  some UDP supporters uttered abusive and provocative languages towards Mr. BU Jarju who was busy addressing his sympathizers to remain calm and accept his defeat in good faith,” the police statement said.

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It went on to explain that the continuous provocation prompted Mr. Jarju who was armed with a stick to go to the street and attempted to disperse the joyous crowd from his compound area. “In the process, he hit one Jamai Manjang a 21 year old UDP supporter of Brikama Daruhairu with a stick on her neck causing injuries on her.

The matter was reported to Brikama Kabafita Police Post who escorted the victim to the Brikama Health Center. She was treated and discharged the same night. In the meantime, Mr. Momodou BU Jarju was arrested and charged for common assault contrary to section 227 of the criminal code cap 10, vol III of the reversed laws of the Gambia,” the police said.

In another development according to the police, a similar but different incident occurred on   Friday 7th April, at Sibanor village.

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There, according to the police, some APRC supporters from the village and the satellite villages had converged at the compound of Momodou Camara the victorious APRC candidate of the Foni Bintang constituency to celebrate their victory. “It is alleged that APRC supporters used abusive language and even stoned compounds believed to be belonging to UDP supporters,” the police said.

According to the police, this situation provoked violence and efforts were made by the Police Chief of Operation, CP Landing Bojang and Sibanor Police officers to stop the violence which proved futile. “This situation prompted the police command in the region to send in the Police Intervention Unit for re-enforcement. In the process, 26 people were arrested among them were 3 women, two Prison Officers, one infantry Soldier from Fajara Barracks and two UDP supporters.

“Two UDP supporters sustained injuries as a result of the stoning and were treated and discharged after police escorted them to the health center. The 24 APRC supporters are charged with 3 counts namely assault causing actual bodily harm, prohibition of conduct conducive to the breach of the peace contrary to Section 9 of the Public Order Act and Willful Damage to Property. The 2 UDP supporters are also charged with 2 Counts: criminal trespass and prohibition of conduct conducive to the breach of the Peace Contrary to Section 9 of the Public Order Act.  For security reasons, the suspects were transferred to the PIU Headquarters in Kanifing for detention and further investigation into the matter,” the police statement noted.

Also according to the police in the early hours of Election Day, Police in the Central River Region arrested 7 people in separate incidents in connection with election violence.

In the first incident, one Muhammed Ceesay of Panchang Village in CRR North together with his father Ebou Ceesay were arrested for fighting a police officer and obstructing a police officer in the due execution of his lawful duties, respectively. “Momodou had a fracas with the police when he refused to join the queue at the polling station.  A push and pull ensued during which Muhammed Ceesay allegedly assaulted the officer causing injuries on him,” the police statement explained. It continued to say that as a second police officer tried to intervene, Ebou Ceesay the father of Muhammed Ceesay interfered thereby obstructing the arrest.

“Later, both father and son were arrested and detained at Njau Police Station. A case file is open for the matter to be investigated,” the police say.

In the second incident according to the police five youths namely: Cherno Ceesay, Saloum Jammeh, Amulai Janneh Mbaye, Ogo Ceesay and Kebba Manneh all of Panchang, who are also believed to be PPP sympathizers were arrested for erecting an illegal check point between the Gambia and Senegal boarder claiming to deter non -Gambian citizens from voting especially for the NRP candidate.

The matter was reported at Njau Police Station and the suspects were arrested and currently helping the police in the investigations.  Meanwhile the office of the Inspector General of Police IGP yesterday warned the general public to abstain from trouble and avoid taking the law into their own hands.  The IGP said whatever the case might be, people must be law abiding and report matters to the police for proper dispensation of justice adding that the law is here to stay and the police will continue to enforce it to the letter.

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