The Inspector General of Police has rejected allegations of selective justice in its handling of the recent WhatsApp case involving people suspected of using the platform to make hate and bigotry statements with potential to cause chaos and tribal conflict.
A statement from the IGP’s office released last night said using its information monitoring mechanisms, the police have been following up WhatsApp, Facebook, and other social media platforms for audios, videos and write-ups released on the social media containing messages of attacks on personalities, tribes as well as the state.
The statement revealed the following cases discovered by the police and the actions taken on them:
Former National Assembly Member Abdoulie Saine in a 20 minute WhatsApp audio, verbally attacked Mandinkas/Sosseh using derogatory remarks, insults and bigotry statements [sic]. Consequently, he has been charged and taken to court;
Similarly, Lamin Jaiteh was heard in an audio release expressing solidarity with former NAM Abdoulie Saine on his audio of tribal bigotry messages directed towards Mandinkas/Sosseh. Lamin Jaiteh further abused high profile personalities, the UDP and the entire Mandinka tribe. However, his address has been located at Mimers Vag 2, 145 70 Norbog, Sweden and serious efforts are ongoing to bring him to book;
Similarly, Malang Fatty of Bakau also in a WhatsApp audio attacked the Jolas, Foninkas and APRC. However, police made efforts to arrest him within the country but it proved futile. Malang Fatty is believed to be currently resident in Spain and efforts are ongoing to arrest him wherever he may be found. ”
The IGP further reminded the public that “abuse on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, among others has potential to destabilise the peace, security and harmonious co-existence among the people of The Gambia. Therefore, the police will not relent in its efforts to maintain peace, and security, law and order, protect life and property as well as apprehend and prosecute offenders of the law as enshrined in section 178(1) and (2) of the constitution of The Gambia.
“In this regard the general public is urged to cooperate, collaborate and partner with the Gambia Police Force in the fight against all forms of crime as well as maintenance of peace and security.
“As we usher into a new era of democracy and development, the Office of the IGP solicits that we all strive to safeguard and nurture the ever-existing peace, harmony and tolerance among people of The Gambia. Never must we allow anybody cultivate the seeds of tribal dispute and hate among us for the Gambia is our homeland. ”
Meanwhile the police have also warned people against gathering at the court premises in Banjul tomorrow with intent to cause disruptions to proceedings in the case involving Abdoulie Saine.
According to the police, the case “is purely a criminal proceeding hence a matter for the court to resolve according to the laws of The Gambia, with a view to maintain peaceful and harmonious co-existence among people of The Gambia.
“Therefore, the public, party militants and sympathisers are strictly warned to stay away from the court premises especially those in party colours, T-shirts, and logos. In this regard the public is hereby informed that strict security measures will be put in place to ensure the court carries out it sittings without disturbances or disruptions”, the police warned.