By Lamin Ceesay
Five members of the National Assembly representing five constituencies have tasked Gambia Government to demilitarize Foni .
The National Assembly Members were Kebba Toumanding Sanneh – Foni Jarrol, Almameh Gibba – Foni Kansala, Amie Colley – Foni Berefet, Pa Dembo Sanneh – Foni Bondali and Bakary Badjie – Foni Bintang. The lawmakers made this demand during a press conference held at Kampat Village, Foni Kansala – West Coast Region.
They demanded for the immediate withdrawal of the Senegalese/ECOMIG force stationed in their area adding their presence is causing their people hardship.
Honourable Almameh Gibba read their joint statement saying the people of Foni have suffered under the current regime as they continue to face marginalization and discrimination. Hon. Gibba said the Government of President Adama Barrow has unfairly terminated and dismissed natives of Foni who had held positions in the civil and public service based on political and tribal affiliation.
Gibba mentioned that some residents of Foni were taken to commissions while others were arrested, detained and maliciously prosecuted for crimes they have not committed.
“Commissions were established and implementation of their recommendations was mainly targeted against the people of Foni. This speaks volume of the government’s intention to continue marginalized and discriminated against our people,” Gibba said.
Gibba said the fundamental rights and freedoms of their people were violated under the current regime. He cited the Kanfenda incident of the 18th February 2017 where women including pregnant women and children were arrested and detained after a confrontation with the defunct Coalition 2016 supporters. Gibba said these women were selling and the coalition supports who were in their vehicles were saying “we will not buy from murderers oranges and mangoes.” He added that this brought about the confrontation and the police arrested 50 people without telling them the reason for their arrest and detention.
Gibba pointed out that since the coming of the ECOMIG soldiers in Foni their people have been experiencing terror, death, rape, poverty and starvation. He said their people are targeted by agents of the government.
Gibba presented a seven-point petition which they want the Government to address. Here are the demands for the Government:
- To immediately remove the Senegalese troops from the Foni regions and to replace them with Gambia Armed Forces Personnel.
- To conduct a transparent inquiry into the death of Haruna Jatta, the unlawful arrest and detention Modou Bojang the Alkalo of Karor Village, Fabakary Bojang of Karor and CID officer Abdou Jammeh and the six (6) hospitalised boys who sustained gun wounds as a result of drones’ shots.
- To close and remove the Senegalese at Bwiam checkpoint with immediate effect and allow the women of Bwiam have access to their rice field and continue their farming uninterrupted.
- To conduct an impartial investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of Yankuba Badjie of Gifanga, and compensate his family immediately.
- To immediately publish the investigation report surrounding the death of Sherrifo Gobo Kujabi and Jankeh Bojang of Foni.
- To immediately publish the investigation report surrounding the gun shots of one Ismaila Tamba of Kanilai.
- To immediately publish the investigation report surrounding the death of Haruna Jatta caused by the Senegalese troops in Kanilai during the protest and compensate his family immediately.