Wednesday, March 22

GDC calls for release of 2 allegedly arrested by Senegalese soldiers

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By Mariama Njie

Gambia Democratic Congress has called on the government to ensure the release of two Gambians allegedly arrested by the Senegalese soldiers in the wake of Monday’s skirmish between the Senegalese ECOMIG soldiers and Casamance rebels on The Gambia’s Southern border with Senegal.

“To make this matter worse, Alkalo of Karroad, Momodou Mbye Bojang and a Gambian Police Officer attached to the Criminal Investigation Unit Abdou Jammeh were arrested by the Senegalese soldiers. The troubling issue here is; why should the Senegalese soldiers arrest Gambian citizens on the Gambian soil, in their own fatherland? Common sense tells one that, it is absurd and against conventional legal norms for a foreign soldier to arrest a citizen in his or her own country without the consent of the nation’s law enforcement division,” Mamma Kandeh, GDC party leader and Secretary-General said.

“The Gambian prides itself with both professional armed and Police forces, and thus, why should these foreign soldiers interfere with the duties and responsibilities of our Police Force? This apart, in civilized societies, arrest of citizens is not the duty of the military, it is the exclusive reserve of the Police force, and not withstanding a foreign soldier arresting a citizen in his own country. How did our beloved Gambia get to this point?

GDC is therefore calling on the government of The Gambia to effect the immediate release of the two citizens, Alkalo Momodou Bojang and Police Officer, Abdou Jammeh held by Senegalese soldiers,” he added.

“For the sake of clarity, the ECOWAS charter in respect of their mandate on Peacekeeping Missions never mandated ECOMIG to enforce any country’s domestic law, hence they do not have the mandate of powers to arrest Gambian citizens alleged to have committed an offence; it is the exclusive duty of our Police Force to handle such matters. As a matter of fact, investigating wood loggers/deforestation is the duty of The Gambia Police Force/Gambia Forestry Department. It vital to note that, the prolongation of the ECOMIG mission and the continued presence of foreign troops in Gambian soil has huge counterproductive implications for our sovereignty and stability in the long term,” Kandeh said.