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City of Banjul
Sunday, September 27, 2020

The silly euhporia over the Minnesota courts releasing on bail the attackers of the peace-loving Gambian nation

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I mean it when I say that anyone sympathetic to these terrorists involved in that attack must be out of their minds. They cannot even recognize the fact that these men are already docketed by the Obama administration as potential violators of a grave American criminal statute which by every indication might end up, upon their conviction, permanently criminalising their lives in this country. Papa Faal in particular has already admitted his guilt in committing the crime against the government and people of The Gambia and of course for violating a cardinal criminal code in the USA. And I cannot see how Alagie Saidy Barrow, the person identified in the FBI investigation report as the key agent in charge of the logistics including the purchasing, shipping and receiving the assault weapons smuggled from the USA to The Gambia, will wriggle out of his troubles. 

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Nevertheless, we know that the justice system in the USA could sometimes deliver very embarrassing or downright controversial verdicts, especially when it comes to criminal indictments relating to seemingly prejudicial attributes, typical example of which was the overwhelming expectation but eventual disappointment of most Americans who thought that the New York police officers who put Eric Gardner of Stanton Island on a fatal chokehold were at least going to be charged with some form of criminal conduct, but were not, regardless of the presence of all the good evidence. I am talking about the incident caught on tape where Gardner, suspected of illegally peddling cigarettes in the streets was strenuously crying for lack of air through his windpipe while being choked and forcefully pinned down on the ground by Officer Pantaleo and his team members until he died, only for a grand jury to later rule it as non-criminal, triggering nation-wide protests in America. That was not the first and last of such incidents where the inferior who happened to be in these cases black males under suspicion of committing unspecified or often very minor crimes were subjected to unwarranted treatments by white police officers culminating to their deaths with the “perfect” American laws being sadly compromised by unscrupulous lawmakers. Derek Williams a 22-year-old black suspect in Milwaukee on July 2011 was another case captured on tape where the young man suspected of theft and being handcuffed behind a police cruiser pleaded for help while slowly losing his breath until he died without being taken seriously by the white cops in charge. It had to take another public outcry for the initial negative outcome of the case to be readdressed for proper justice.  Another example was that of Rodney King’s brutal beating in March 1991 which the public had to go on rampage before justice was finally done irrespective of the insurmountable evidence surrounding the case from the start.

I had to refer to these incidents before elaborating on my topic for two main reasons: (1) that the American justice system with all the hype about its perfection could at times prove so inadequate or out of order that even the most law abiding would question its general trustworthiness. (2) That when it comes to cases leaning towards prejudicial attributes as in the way I view the attack on the African nation of The Gambia by mainly soldiers recruited and trained by the US Army, that there could be the possibility corruptible lawmakers deliberately ruling in favor of the offenders instead of the offended.

There is no doubt in my mind that President Obama and Eric Holder meant what they said about President Jammeh’s government being a friendly one to the USA government, compelling them to effectively condemn the terrorist conspiracy, the conspirators and the attack they conducted against the Gambia. So left to them alone the perpetrators of the crimes will be punished deservedly. But I believe they are also aware of some Americans in and out of the justice system who are constantly bent on undermining their stance in such cases for the sole purpose of discrediting another important position taken by the Obama administration about an international political concern. To hear the defence attorney of the culprits likening President Jammeh to Idi Amin without the prosecutor debunking that comparison with good accessible facts about the huge difference between the two African leaders, tells a lot about some form of dubious connivance aimed at ultimately decriminalise the actions of these criminals. The prosecutor even went as far as confessing to the courts that he was not there to represent The Gambia Government in the case which everybody knew about; although by openly saying it in the courtroom, to me, demonstrates his carelessness about the case. It appeared as if he was making his position known as an independent prosecutor passionlessly handling a case which winning or losing it mattered little to him or to his career. 

I therefore don’t think the guy even bothered to check, as expected in his capacity, with the thousands of Gambians in true love and support for President Jammeh and what he means to them and The Gambia to know that he is nothing close to resembling the late Idi Amin. He would have learnt that the Gambian president believes in the people he leads in the same way they believe in him. That he is one of the most loved leaders on the African continent because of his commitment to successfully keep the Gambia in unity, peace and prosperity at a time when over-rated nations are failing and disintegrating apart. That when he peacefully took over the nation twenty years ago, on July 22nd, 1994, the political atmosphere in the country was dangerously uncertain coupled with toxic opposition forces coming close to destabilising the nation. But thanks to his intervention, The Gambia survived a critical and necessary change that served the common interest of the people in their diverse ethnic, religious and cultural roots.

Hence in the wake of the attack by these terrorists, the whole country out of shock and disbelief came out in massive numbers not only to condemn it but to show their support to the president and his government. Just a week ago the country celebrated with pride and in high spirit an unprecedented award bestowed on President Jammeh by the world Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), for eradicating hunger in The Gambia. It was a unique achievement by a modern African leader that the prosecutor could have cited to illustrate a dedicated leader determined to help and save the lives of the poor and underprivileged who in no way should be compared to Idi Amin a notorious serial mass murderer. The prosecutor could have informed the judge that the attack by those men of American citizenry and Gambian origin was seriously condemned by the whole world including the United Nations, African Union and other world organizations and nations like Britain, France, Germany together with almost all African countries and not only Barack Obama and Eric Holder; that the Obama administration did not cry foul simply because of their friendship with an admirable African leader. Of course President Jammeh is very admirable to Obama because the latter understands how the former possess the kind of good and strong leadership trait vital to move Africa ahead.

Although I have some serious reservations about judges in the Red state of Minnesota, I cannot definitively say that the ostensibly careless prosecutor’s position and the defence’s unconscionable arguments leading to his comparison of Jammeh and Amin will influence the final judgment or sentencing of the arrested bandits; but, trust me, if it does, to the extent of letting them get away with the crime, then America will in the eyes of the world send a bleak signal that will further confirm people’s doubt over the somber flaws in her overall justice system.

These people went to destabilise a very stable country. They could have destroyed the habitat of a wonderful nation for selfish reasons hidden under the guise of fighting dictatorship and perhaps run right back to America after thousands are rendered homeless and into refugee lives.

Haven’t we learnt enough from Iraq and Libya? Out of lies and pure arrogance, these nations once thriving under manageable conditions of peace and tranquility are now transformed into jungles where the majority today wished they were left alone with what they had in the past and not with everlasting terror constantly hovering over their heads.

In the event the case is compromised, it is my hope that the Gambia Government will explore a civil suit against the perpetrators and demand compensations for the economic and emotional troubles they brought to the Gambian nation and people. But as for now, let’s all pay close attention to how the American legal system will handle this case to the end.  

 

May God bless The Gambia! May God bless His Excellency Sheikh, Professor, Alhaji Doctor Yahya AJJ Jammeh, President of the Republic of the Gambia.  

 

The author, Samsudeen Sarr, was a former commander of the Gambia National Army and the author of several books. He now works and lives  in 

Newark, New Jersey, USA.     

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