EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: A group of young people who call themselves Team Gom Sa Bopa, have asked Gambia government to sit back and rectify the mistakes it committed and always prioritise the lives of the citizen over property.
The youth movement also appealed to citizens to stand up and demand for the immediate release and bail of the 37 young people, including singer and activist Killa Ace just as it was granted to the junglers who testified before the TRRC.
During a Monday press conference on the arrest, charge and detention of the 37 young people for their alleged involvement in the July 24 protest in Serrekunda, one of the group members, Yusuf Taylor –Flex Dan- said singer and rights activist Killa Ace have stood firm to demand for justice to be served on the killers of Ousman Darboe and Kebba Secka.
“Peace has to start with the security who are supposed to protect us. If there is anything we should address, the demand for the security to stop the killing and detention of our people should be one. We want anti-crime officers to stop arbitrary arrests of our people,” he said.
Last Tuesday, a lower court in Kanifing ordered for Killa Ace and thirty-six other youth to be kept in custody, following an eight-count charge leveled against them by the police, including conspiracy to commit a felony, unlawful assembly and prohibition of conduct conducive to breaches of peace.
They were rounded up after their first arrest and release by the police Anti-Crime Unit (ACU) for allegedly involving in protest within the Greater Banjul Areas in July, following the death of a 36-year-old man, Ousman Darboe who was alleged to have been manhandled by officers of the police Anti-Crime Unit.
The charges accused the men of jointly and unlawfully agreeing to assemble, cause malicious damage and arson. It also accused them of unlawful assembling with intent to carry out a common purpose equivalent to committing a breach of peace.
Magistrate Elizabeth Dunn ordered for them to remain in Police custody until this Tuesday when the case will resume.
Mr. Taylor said in July alone, Gambia has lost two young people and today, Killa Ace is an arsonist and a prisoner in Mile 2. He said Kebba Secka was stabbed to death and until today, the government did not show any remorse and it was confirmed that he was killed by a security officer. “If we do not take a stand today, it might be too late. Killa Ace was singled out from a lot and dragged away to Banjul police headquarters to intimidate him.”
Killa Ace’s lawyer Patrick Gomez said his client was arrested for what he believed to be police brutality, saying he and others are now before the court and it will be entering defence to prove the case.
He said three of the counts they are charged with are capital offences because they involve rioting and another one is arson which, he said Gambian new law classified as unbailable. “When the prosecution filed the case, they also made an application for the case to be transferred to the high court because the lower court doesn’t have the jurisdiction to try them.”
Lawyer Gomez said they also believed that the charges were brought before the lower court in bad faith, saying the defence objected to the prosecution application on the grounds that their actions were abuse of process since they fully knew that the lower court does not have the jurisdiction to try the matter and yet they file it before it.
Another member, Alieu Bah, in his solidarity statement said for 54 years, Gambia’s political class have failed the mases by betraying the wishes and aspirations of Gambians. “Youthful life in this country continue to be humiliated and criminalised,” he said, adding that the arrest and detention of the 37 youth should arouse a historic responsibility for Gambians to stand for what is right and stop celebrating their failures.