EYEAFRICA TV, Banjul, The Gambia: President Adama Barrow commented on the ‘arson’ attack on the house of the police Anti-Crime Unit (ACU) commander by a group of angry youth in July, calling their action and the rest of other protesters in the country as not part of Gambian values.
In his State of the Nation address at the National Assembly on Thursday, Mr Barrow said recently, some people have been taking the law into their own hands to commit violent acts of destruction and attacks on property and individuals.
The 24 July attack on the Police ACU commander’s house, which sparked a wave of panic in Serrekunda and the surrounding environment, saw a colossal destruction of property in a violent manner by the young people, following the death of a 36-year-old businessman at Serrekunda market. The young man was alleged to have died after he was manhandled by the police ACU officers.
Thirty-seven youth, including singer and rights activist, Killa Ace were arrested and charged for their involvement in the protest. Following pressure on the government to release the protesters, it later released thirty of them, saying it has gathered substantial evidence to prove the involvement of the rest of the seven men in the protest, including Killa Ace. The case is currently transferred to the High Court, whose judges will resume in October.
“Aside from the Faraba Banta disorder, violent incidents, including arson and murder, have been recorded in Kombo Berending, Gunjur, Koina, Garawol and, most recently, in the Kanifing Municipality. Personal attacks on government officials fighting crime in the country, such as the Assistant Police Commissioner and Head of the Police Anti-Crime, and arson attacks on his family home, the Bakoteh Police Station and within the Serekunda market area are not part of our values,” the president said.
Mr Barrow is losing popularity in Gambian politics, facing overwhelming challenges from quarters with some describing him as an incompetent leader, who always lost track of the country’s current matters.
He receives frequent social media attacks by Gambians, most of them calling on him to step down at the end of three years for a fresh election to be conducted.
One of his most current controversial opposition is a group that call themselves ‘Operation three years jotna’ who launched a campaign to force Mr Barrow to respect his campaign promise and step aside at the end of three years instead of the 5-year constitutional mandate.
“We are aware of the important role of the media in society, particularly the social media and its influence on our lives. Let us maximize the benefits that social media forums can avail us to educate and keep the people informed. As citizens, we must not create hatred amongst ourselves,” he said.
Social media, particularly facebook is apparently the most effective campaign tool for many Gambians to vent their anger against the Barrow-led government, who many labelled as a ‘failed’ administration that had immediately cast away all the promises it made to Gambians during vote canvassing.