By Talibeh Hydara
There has been growing public outrage over a video doing the rounds online which shows a young man tied like a Tobaski ram, stripped naked and publicly flogged.
The video, which went viral since its emergence on Wednesday, has attracted strong reaction from Gambians in and outside the country, who condemn it and demand a swift and immediate police inquiry into the mob justice.
The young man in the video accused of stealing, begged his captors to let him go and tried to convince them by claiming his mum was the director of Women’s Bureau.
He told them that he is in fact a writer and that he was sacked but the group of angry people wouldn’t hear any of it.
That is when his hands were tied at his back and he was stripped naked.
Reacting to the video online, one commenter, said: “The trend I see in the Gambia is worrying; seeing people taking law into their hands, tying a man and beating him. Where did that come from? Who has the right to strip naked your fellow Gambian—someone who could have had children if he had married earlier—tie him, beam cameras on him and beat him just because you said he was there to steal. This is appalling! We said we broke the chains of slavery but why will an entire family strip someone naked and tie him up? Don’t we have police stations?
Phoday King wrote: “Very sad. This boy’s parents are rich and most of his family members are all in America. I can’t believe what is happening to this boy. They got everything in Tallinding.”
Lamin Sillah: “Very sad. They have no right to torture him and undress him, post it in the social media. It is totally against the Constitution…. they should hand over him [sic] to police but they have no right to do such thing to him…police have to arrest all those involved torturing him, let them face justice…. this is not the new Gambia we voted for.”
Lamin K Saidy wrote on Facebook: “We are losing lots of valuable norms that make our society unique. We used to have respect for humanity and treat each other with dignity. We see criminals as people and handle their offence in accordance with the laws of the land. Let’s not forget how close our families are in The Gambia – the intermarriages and social set-ups installed by our forefathers. We cannot be barbaric, we must not be. I hope the spokesperson of police will address this issue rather than a political statement from any political appointee. Remember, police issues should be treated from policing viewpoints only. Those responsible had already presented evidence against themselves. May Allah guide us all”
The Standard contacted the police spokesman about what actions they have or will take against the people who subjected the young man to the beatings and the degrading treatment.
But Inspector Foday Conta said although he heard about the matter, he does not have the details and no one has lodged any complaint with the police.
He promised to find out and get back to us. However, he could not tell us anything by the time we went to press.