People are being denied entry into a local mosque in Southwest Gambia built by the country’s ousted autocratic ruler, Yahya Jammeh.
Gunjur Kenyekenye Mosque was sealed off since Friday night by security forces loyal to Jammeh, putting into question President Adama Barrow control of the military and the negligence of the army chief, Lt. Col. Ousman Bargie.
“All security forces, including the police, must be moved from the site,” said Amadou Janneh, a former minister and native of Gunjur.
Jammeh loyalist under the command of Sgt. Nuha Sanyang led troops under the instructions of Lt. Amadou Jammeh to the mosque. Those who were preparing for the ritual Friday prayers were forced out and keys to the mosque taken.
They are currently being held with Lt. Amadou Jammeh at the Yundum Barracks, 17 miles from the capital, Banjul. Lt. Col. Jammeh is said to be related with the exiled ruler and had worked for the erstwhile leader at the State Guards, the elite presidential guard unit.
“I am protecting the former president’s [Yahya Jammeh] property. The people there [Gunjur], including their chief, knows who owns the place,” Lt. Amadou Jammeh said.
Lt. Jammeh refused to answer if he had direct orders from Equatorial Guinea from his former military superiors or from President Jammeh to seize the mosque.
Locals are outraged and accuse ex-President Jammeh of forcefully acquiring the land, which was a sacred prayer ground for thousands of worshippers who come from across the SeneGambia region.
Jammeh was defeated in the polls by businessman Adama Barrow. Barrow was inaugurated on Saturday ending the political standoff that sent more than 75,000 people fleeing the country.