Gambia police now require permit for convoys

Gambia police now require permit for convoys

The Gambia’s police chief said Monday that anyone using a convoy should seek a permit from the district police, a move that has been met with strong condemnation from opposition supporters.

Gambia’s disheartened President Yahya Jammeh was defeated in the polls by the opposition coalition’s Adama Barrow in the West African nation’s December 1 elections. Jammeh, who first conceded defeat has refused to step down and launched a legal challenge to annul the results.

President-elect Adama Barrow, a political novice, is the only person who is using a convoy mostly from his home to the transitional office.

Police Chief Yankuba Sonko’s decision is seen as an order from Jammeh specifically targeting Mr. Barrow, who has refused to be provoked by Jammeh.

The convoy of Gambia’s preisdent-elect Adama Barrow is seen as he arrives for a meeting in Banjul, Gambia, December 12, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Barrow is likely to comply and pressure will be mounted on the police to give him the needed permit. Gambian law does not require the use of permits for a convoy. The law may merely be a way to have Mr. Barrow arrested, a risky decision that may plunge the country into conflict.

Barrow does not have state security and has expressed concerns over his personal safety.

ECOWAS, a sub-regional organization of West African nations say it will ensure his safety and security amid the rising political tension.

Opposition supporters say outgoing President Jammeh, who came to power through a coup in 1994, is looking for a simple reaction from the coalition and its supporters that may result in a confrontation as a mean to prolong his hold on power.

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