Gambia’s law enforcement chief, Mai Ahmad Fatty has met with local leaders in the opposition stronghold of Foni after sporadic violence erupted between supporters of President Adama Barrow and the ousted dictator, Yahya Jammeh.
It is the second time that Fatty, the Minister of Interior is meeting with local chiefs from the southern region since the new government took power in late January.
“Gambia’s government is facing resistance and a challenge when it comes to asserting authority in the Fonis. President Barrow just like Jammeh is the president of all Gambia,” says Sam Phatey, a political analyst with SMBC.
“The people that support Jammeh have to live with the fact that Barrow is president like Gambians lived with the fact that Jammeh was president and was autocratic. Authorities need to stop the unnecessary negotiation and set an example to anyone who does not follow the law.”
Vigilantes led by a former minister, Musa Amul Nyassi, who won in Jammeh’s Foni Kansala district prevented security forces and police investigators from assessing the former president’s farm, where two Americans were killed and thrown into a well.
Gambian authorities dropped charges against 56 Jammeh supporters, who assaulted Barrow supporters after Minister Fatty met with elders in the Foni region.
Fatty said charges were dropped in the spirit of reconciliation, but more attacks happened across West Coast region and in the Greater Banjul Area ahead of polls, in which APRC supporters attacked mainly supporters of the UDP.
The UDP is the party from which President Barrow resigned to lead the unity government that defeated Jammeh. It won a majority in Thursday’s polls.
The reconciliation spirit did not deter post-electoral violence from erupting in the Fonis. Police have arrested at least 26 people after APRC supporters threw stones at the homes of UDP supporters, seriously wounding three people.