Few weeks ago, it was murder, robbery, theft and assault. The country was not the least safe. It is still not. But the new terrorist in town is rather equally terrifying as the streets are where we earn our living.
The president addressed the nation regarding the fragile security situation. This was preceded by a joint security deployed into the streets which did an amazing job in temporarily curbing crime, especially seizing small weapons and cannabis.
Following overwhelming public outcry, Gambia police launched Operation Zero Crime to cleanse the streets and bushes of criminal elements. But even with that, no matter how appreciatively effective it has been recognised, crimes seem unabated and more people keep losing their lives and their properties rather frequently.
After the president ordered the army to be on standby, we have seen the soldiers launch an operation of their own: Restore sanity. Even though the legality or otherwise of the army’s deployment into the streets was subject of debate, there was no doubt that the initiative is done in good faith.
Much of that commanding presence of the army, however, isn’t felt yet in the streets. And to make matters worse, even though murder and robbery are somewhat not as common now, kidnapping is now raring its ugly head. Almost on a daily basis, reports of kidnappings flood social media and on the lips of ordinary Gambians. Even though some of the reports are questionable, it is equally concerning for the unsuspecting citizens to be kidnapped in the streets.
It is therefore important for the army to cover ground and provide protection and safety in the streets for Gambians and those resident in the country. Since it is the primary duty of the police to prevent crime, we urge them to double their efforts and not only solve the existing kidnapping cases but prevent future occurrences.
The streets have to be safe. We cannot spend the whole day indoors. We must go out to work, do business and connect. If the streets aren’t safe for anything like that, then the situation is rather unfortunate. Let’s work together to make our streets safe for everyone.