By Tabora Bojang
Gambia Police have said that investigations revealed that the two natives of Madina Balla who were arrested by the Senegalese security forces and still being held in Tambacounda are Gambians allegedly engaged in drug trafficking within Senegal’s territory.
A statement from the police shared with The Standard responding to the reports of the arrest stated: “We can confirm the arrests of the duo for their alleged involvement in illicit drug trafficking activities within the Senegalese territory. Upon receipt of the information security officers visited the scene of the arrest and confirmed that the arrest didn’t happen within the Gambian territory but in Senegal. It’s important to note that the duo had been on the Senegalese security radar for their illicit drug activities and were trailed and arrested within Senegal. Meanwhile, detailed investigation into the matter and their activities is being conducted by the Drug Law Enforcement Agency”.
Last week, residents of Madina Balla in the Kantora district reported the arrest of Kekuta Kanneh and Lama Sanyang by the Senegalese security forces who allegedly took them to Tambacounda on April 17th. According to the villagers, the two were arrested in a setup when they received a call from a friend from Senegal who wanted them to help with his motorbike which had a breakdown and they were arrested upon arrival by waiting Senegalese forces.
Meanwhile, the alkalo of Garawol Kuta Ba Filly Trawally, whose village shares a border with Senegal disagreed with the police statement.
According to him, the two Gambians were arrested at a lake between Sare Sibo, Bogal and Garawol Kuta all of which are in Gambian territory.
“That lake is in Gambian territory,” Alkalo Trawally charged. Foday Camara, a native of Kantora who is a friend to both Lama and Kekuta, accused the police of ‘unseriousness’ in protecting the lives of Gambian citizens. He said the villagers are not aware of the involvement of their two natives in any drug dealings, saying “even if they are dealing in drugs, the Senegalese security have no mandate to come and arrest them in Gambian territory.”
He said the families have made several visits to Tambacounda prison to see their loved ones and were informed during their last visit that the two will appear in court Wednesday morning to face charges.
The Kantora NAM Billay G Tunkara had confirmed that they were arrested as a result of an ambush by the Senegalese security. Asked if he knew where the arrest took place, the Majority Leader said he cannot confirm that. He said he has informed the governor and the police commissioner in URR to engage the Senegalese governor in Wellingara and Gendarmerie at the border in Nyamanari to settle the matter outside court.