EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Spokesperson of Gambia Police Force, Assistant Superintendent Lamin Njie has told to Eyeafrica TV that the presence of the Anti-Crime Unit of the police at the Serrekunda central market Friday morning was not meant to order vendors to close their shops and everyone to vacate the place but it was part of their routine duties.
The police presence at the market was described by the vendors as an order for them to vacate the public place coming from a presidential decree to ban all public gatherings as a measure to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Omar Njie, chief executive officer of Smartphone House told Eyeafrica that he was ordered by the PIU officers to close his shop and few hours later, he was asked to continue operation. Many shops along Kairaba avenue were said to have been ordered by the police to cease operations which was later lifted after some time.
But police spokesperson Njie said the vendors were misinformed about the mission of the police in the area. “The police were patrolling to see that social and public gatherings are minimised and to monitor shopkeepers who are hiking the price of their commodities,” PRO Njie said.
He said the mission was not about ordering the vendors and shopkeepers to vacate the market premises, assuring them that they would not take any such decision until they receive the orders to do so.
Kanifing Municipal Council spokesperson, Aisha Faal said described the event as miscommunication, saying they have contacted both the office of the inspector general of police and the police intervention unit but both said they did not give any orders to ask the shopkeepers to closed and everyone to vacate the market.