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City of Banjul
Monday, January 18, 2021

Halifa calls for release of family members of ‘insurgents’

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International human rights group, Amnesty, has confirmed the arrest and detention of at least 30 people by Gambian law enforcement agencies, following the incident. 

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Reacting, Halifa told The Standard: “Justice is blind to gender, place of origin, status, blood ties or political or ideological persuasions. It is alert to evidence; proof beyond doubt, penalty based on the weight of crime and mercy when it is deserved.

The best way to handle such incidents is to immediately restore relative normalcy, refrain from casting the net of suspicion beyond what is reasonable and justifiable in a democratic and rights based society and focus on those who share the heaviest burden of responsibility and govern according to the constitution and laws of the country.

“At the moment, the official view is that 9 persons were direct participants. Four are killed, 1 captured and 4 escaped. What is reasonable is to subject the dead to coroner’s inquest to get family members to identify them and the doctors to confirm their death for the legal records. All those detained beyond 72 hours should be charged and taken before the court or released.

“Those who are arrested just because they have family ties with the insurgents should be released since no person becomes culpable to a criminal offence just because of family ties. Justice based on blood ties and blood feuds belongs to the Stone Age and is not permissible in Republics. A conducted tour for the whole media of the scene of the incident and related matters, a full disclosure of all detainees and a press conference to address all questions are the best means to show transparency and accountability. 

“The event of 30 December 2014 was quickly suppressed and did not lead to a coup or mass uprising. Its political implication is very limited. We should avoid such bloodshed in the country and focus more on empowering the people so that they could elect governments to and remove them from office based on their undiluted consent.”


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