We live in worrying times in The Gambia. Every day you read on the pages of newspapers or hear on radio bulletins reports about some major crime. Suicide, murder, armed robbery or assault leading to grievous bodily harm, rape, patricide, fratricide, and infanticide have become daily occurrences. These, despite the launching of Operation Zero Crime by the new Inspector General of Police.
Early Sunday morning, this past weekend, a group of armed men numbering at least seven, armed with guns forcibly entered the home of prominent businessman Walid Bourgi, physically assaulted him and his three daughters who were in the house with him and made way with at least D15 million worth of cash and other personal valuables. By the time we went to press, not a single person has been taken into custody in this regard. This is indeed serious and people are worried and scared and deservedly so.
Now Gambians do not feel safe on the streets and even in the inviolable space they call their homes. The work of the new Inspector General of Police has been cut out for him. When he was appointed to the post recently, many people cheered for him. Now, he must rise up to the challenge. Of course security in the country is the collective responsibility of many institutions like Drug Law Enforcement Agency, the State Intelligence Services, Gambia Immigration Department and even the military, but it is principally the job of the Gambia Police Force.
Since March last year, the country has been facing a security threat – a natural threat in the form of a viral pandemic. Now, this internal threat posed by criminals, is compounding the challenges our nation is facing and disrupting the country’s wellbeing. Anything that threatens the physical wellbeing of the population or jeopardises the stability of a nation’s economy or institutions is considered a national security threat. This crime wave poses a clear and present danger to the security of the Gambian state.
It is the primal duty of the state to protect the lives and properties of all the people who live under the state. If the state fails to do so, people will have to take it upon themselves the responsibility of securing their lives and properties by all means and this could lead to aggressive vigilantism. The police should redouble their efforts in ensuring that security and a sense of security is returned to the country.