The recent killing of a young civil servant on the Palma River Beach which has the hall mark of youth violence and suspected armed robbery is not an isolated incident.
Over the last few years, there have been numerous incidents of stabbing and murder involving young people.
Indeed, violent crime rate went so high that the president had to deploy special forces to curb the escalating menace. Many wondered how can a country, which is supposed to be more peaceful and secure coming from 22 years of repression, suddenly turned into a jungle. While many blame the violent attitude and crime rate among the youth on the abuse of freedom under the new found democracy, little is said about the elephant in the room- prevalence of drug abuse.
In our view, there has to be a reason for all these youth violent crimes—they are related to drug abuse. Everywhere in the world drug abuse and usage among the young population results in carnage, mass murder, and violent robbery because once somebody takes drug, he or she becomes an animal with no human faculties. That is why places like Mexico, Columbia and other places where drug abuse is rampant, have become lawless societies where life is cheap and can be taken by just a mere argument over a pen or water bottle. People believed to be well dressed or driving posh cars are often attacked and killed by youths under the influence of drug and the police regularly fight gun battles with drug addicts whose pastime is to kill and maim. Even governments are not immune from drug abusers, barons and their financers who often hire hit men to eliminate government or security officials they perceived to be obstacles to their trade.
Therefore, drug trade and or abuse is a threat to lives and a serious matter that our government must pay attention to. Our land, sea and air borders must be tightly controlled.
The relation between drug abuse and violence is also evident even in our sub-region. We therefore urge the Gambia government to be vigilant and more committed to fighting drug than ever before. There is no doubt that drug abuse is the driving force behind the frequent incidents of violence among youths.