Gambia: Arrest toll in ex-ruler’s home village rises to 22

Kanilai soldiers ECOMIG

The number of people arrested in Kanilai has gone up from 13 to 22 following a protest by angry villagers and supporters of the Gambia’s deposed exiled ruler for West African troops to withdraw from their region.


Written by Sam Phatey

Gambia’s Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty, in a statement read on national television, said 22 people were arrested since Friday and are being detained at various police stations across the Greater Banjul and Kombo Metropolitan areas.

“A group of people from villages in the foni area staged violent demonstrations and attacked the security forces deployed in and around Kanilai, and border villages inside Casamance,” according to Fatty.

“Some members of the group, who were armed with traditional weapons, engaged in provocative acts against members of the security forces in the area and made some demands, one of which was the removal of security personnel from the Kanilai area.”

Protesters denied been armed and instead accused the ECOMIG forces of intimidating, harassing and threatening them whenever they go their farms or herd their livestock.

At least one person has died in the violence and several people, including three military officers, have been injured. Protesters burnt tires, blocked the entrance to the village and broke through security barricades to reach former President Yahya Jammeh’s seized compound.

Jammeh’s elder brother, Sainey, who was seen in a video challenging authorities to release Jammeh’s assets or face his wrath and the local village chief, Edward Jammeh have fled into hiding.

The mandate of the West African troops, who were sent to compel Jammeh to hand over to President Adama Barrow has been extended for a year and broadened to include support for training the Gambia’s military following Friday’s incident.

Barrow is currently in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, where he is meeting with regional leaders that backed his presidency and helped his new administration avoid the country’s slipping into civil war.