Gambia: Bail To Soldier Held For Taking Part In Kanilai Protest

The protesters want an end to the militarisation of their community

(JollofNews) – State prosecutors in the Gambia have slapped criminal charges against a soldier accused of threatening to defend the properties of former President Yahya Jammeh at all cost during a demonstration in Kanilai by residents of Foni against the militarisation of their community.

Prosecutors said the demonstration was an illegal assembly, and Omar Sanneh had incited and threatened violence.

He was also accused of threatening in an audio recording on 2 June 2017 to kill or injure any government official who dare to forcefully seize former President Jammeh’s assets.

Sanneh who was arrested and detained for several weeks, pleaded not guilty and was given a D1 million bail by Principal Magistrate Omar Cham of the Brikama court.

Sanneh was among thousands of Foni residents who earlier this month gathered in former President Yahya Jammeh’s native village, Kanilai, some 119km from Banjul, and displayed banners calling for the immediate withdrawal of officers of the Senegal led military intervention force in the Gambia (Ecomig)  in the area.

Although the demonstrators were unarmed, they were shot at with live ammunition at by  the officers, killing one and wounding six.

The Gambia Government has accused the demonstrators of engaging in provocative acts against members of the security forces in the area and has so far not shown any desire to open an investigation into the matter.

Mai Ahmad Fatty, minister of the Interior accused the demonstrators of failing to secure a permit from the Inspector General of Police to organise their protest contrary to the laws of the Gambia and has vowed to come down heavily on the demonstrators.

Mr Fatty said while the government will continue to respect and protect the right to peaceful and democratic protest, it will not accept any form of violent protest.