Gambia’s Interior Minister Yankuba Sonko has dismissed accusations made by the Tourism Minister Hamat Bah, who recently accused The Gambia Immigration Department of profiling Fullanis and also denying them access to the National Identity Card (ID Card). Addressing reporters at a news conference that was meant to update Gambia’s National Security Reform Program, Sonko said the Immigration Department had been doing its job as legally required.
“The issuance of National ID Card, there are procedures that normally have to be adopted. One, you have to confirm that that person is a Gambian and the discretions lines in the desk officer of the Immigration whether sufficient evidence have been produced to confirm that person’s nationality. He has a discretion to refer them and in most of the cases, all the cases that we know so far are all referred, they direct them to obtain certain information and come back to the desk officer. Nobody is outrightly rejected so far, as far as I am concerned. Thank you,” Sonko remarked.
Sonko’s statement was in response to Tourism Minister Bah’s allegation against his Ministry. The police and GID fall under the Tourism Ministry.
Earlier on, the government spokesperson Ebrima Sankareh told reporters that Hamat Bah’s statement has nothing to with their press conference. He advised journalists to stick the main theme of the press conference.
But that never stopped reporters from raising Bah’s wild accusations at the GID.
Yankuba Sonko was Inspector General of police, when the police arrested the late Solo Sandeng and other UDP supporters and handed them to the NIA. Sandeng died in NIA custody because of the torture inflicted on him by Jammeh’s assassin team called the jungullars. Fatoumatta Jawara, Fatou Camara, Nogoi Njie and others were also tortured. Some of the women detainees claimed that they were sexually assaulted while under NIA custody.
The police were never charged for the death of Solo Sandeng. Only the NIA were charged. Their case is still pending in court.