Gambia: One person dead in Kanilai protest


At least one person died in clashes between supporters of the former autocratic ruler, Yahya Jammeh and regional forces in southwestern Gambia, according to opposition activists.


Written by Sam Phatey

The victim, Haruna Jatta, 54, was shot in the stomach and was among six people that sustained injuries during Friday’s protest demanding the exit of West African troops from Mr. Jammeh’s seized home in his native Kanilai.

“This is an outrage. We lost a very precious life. Barrow and his government are responsible and will be solely responsible for whatever happens,” said Sulayman Nyassi, an opposition activist.

MP for the Foni Kansala district, Musa Amul Nyassi said live rounds were used against the protesters and had in April said there was no need for the West African troops to be stationed in Foni.

According to Nyassi, it is intimidating and scaring the people of the region and called for their withdrawal after a skirmish between ECOMIG and Gambian soldiers in Kanilai.

Tens of people marching in Kanilai burnt tires, blocked roads leading to village and made their way into Jammeh’s abandoned presidential compound pushing over security barricades and passing checkpoints.

“Jammeh is no longer here. Let them go where he is. This place is not a military barracks. We want them out,” as they confront the guards and swear at Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow, whose government they accuse of tribalism and targeting them.

There has been unrest in the Gambia’s Foni region since Jammeh’s unceremonious departure. Government and opposition supporters clashed and it tensions between security forces and villagers have been reported.

Vigilante youths, who were securing Jammeh’s home before last month’s seizure of the former leader’s assets denied security forces access to Jammeh’s home.

Authorities have sent a fact-finding mission to Kanilai to investigate the incident and so far, declined to make any comment to the press.

West African troops were deployed to the Gambia after Jammeh refused to cede power to Adama Barrow and Gambia’s army chose to stay out of political mayhem that followed.

Jammeh has a long track record of using arbitrary arrests, threats, enforced disappearance, and torture to silence opposition voices. He is accused by the new government of stealing billions leading to the seizure of his domestic assets.