The Minister of the Interior, Mai Ahmad Fatty, has condemned the riot in Farato last week, describing it as “an act of mindless violence meted out to law enforcement officials.”
A group of individuals resident in Bafuloto Tuesday allegedly attacked law enforcement officials and those of the Department of Physical Planning as they attempted to demolish structures in that village and its environs.
The demolition team claimed they were executing a court order but the standoff escalated into a full-blown riot resulted in injuries of officers and burning of a car and a caterpillar.
Reacting to the incident on Friday at a press conference in Banjul, the interior minister said Gambians have misinterpreted democracy and that attacking law enforcement officers will not be tolerated.
“I must admit here that the new Gambia has always been about enthronement of real democracy. Yet, Farato represents a realistic portrayal of the challenges we face as a nation in terms of educating our people on what democracy is all about. There is also the challenge of our citizens to be law-abiding at all times. We’ve now seen our citizens reading and misreading democracy. We’ve now seen our citizens breaking the law all in the name of democracy.
“I’m not going to speculate on what will happen next. What I can say is that the melee is most abhorrent – and those who break the law must be dealt with decisively. They must be made to understand that such acts are unacceptable. That you cannot attack law enforcement officials for simply doing their job,” he warned.
Minister Fatty said laws must be obeyed and that his ministry and the government will not relent in maintaining order in the country.
“This fresh and zestful leadership is prepared and ready to wage a war on indiscipline and lawlessness. We will not condone acts that seek to truncate the existing sanity, safety, peace and orderliness being enjoyed in our communities and streets. The police and other law enforcement agencies will not relent or relax in performing their statutory responsibilities in maintaining law and order. This is a nation of laws and the laws must be enforced for greater peace and security. There will be no apologising for this.
“As your Minister of the Interior, I have no greater responsibility than the security of Gambians. And everyday I wake up praying to God to give me the strength and wisdom to give my best in the service of our nation.
“And in our effort to maintain a sustainable peace and security, the government will not renege on its responsibilities. There will be a zero tolerance for indiscipline. Law is the arbiter of our conducts as a people and so we must abide by law if we are to progress as a nation,” he advised.