During the course of last week, The Gambia Police Force announced that they had captured sixty-three Gambians accused of a series of incidents of armed robbery, stealing, breaking and entering and some other crimes. The items they admitted to stealing include televisions, laptop computers, smart phones, sewing machines and other items.
The leader of this gang is said to be a twenty-three-year-old Gambian and he bragged that his gang is very faithful to him; that whatever he tells them to do they do, it without hesitation. In fact, he bragged that if they were to see Pres. Barrow in the streets, they would not hesitate to attack him.
This is indeed worrying and should be a cause for concern for every Gambian.
Young people turning to armed banditry is becoming rampant and something needs to be done to put a stop to it immediately. The Deputy Spokesperson of the Gambia Police Force, Mr Foday Conta has said that some of these were convicts who had served time before.
A few things come to mind here: one thing we could – and should – do is to reform our prisons and make them more of reform centres than just avenues for punishment. If the prisons offered some form of technical training so that by the time a convict is released s/he has learnt a trade, then the individual will be less likely to return to the life of crime as s/he will be engaged in something for survival.
Another thing we should consider doing is reorienting our education system to provide skills to young people. If young people leave school without any skills and are unfortunate enough not to have requirement to go to university, crime becomes very appealing to them. We should therefore