Court security officer stand near a member of Gambia's Army force bus at the Supreme Court in Banjul, Gambia December 5, 2016. Picture taken December 5, 2016. REUTERS/ Thierry Gouegnon

Gambia’s DLEA vows to continue drug raids after Bakau clash

Gambia’s Drug Law Enforcement Agency says it will continue its crackdown on drugs after facing stiff resistance in marijuana raids that left several people injured, including two undercover officers.

At least 10 people were arrested in a raid last week in the Bakau neighborhood of Farokono, which has been seen as a “no go area” for authorities for long. Dozens of people chased police officers with sticks and stones forcing the deployment of the riot police unit.

“The message is that we will continue to raid in a very professional manner within that area and any other place because we are mandated by the law and law of The Gambia, remains the same,” said Ousman Saidybah, spokesperson for the DLEA.

Since the unceremonious departure of Gambia’s iron fist ruler, Yahya Jammeh, many Gambians used the birth of a new dawn of democracy to break the laws.

Police officers, who once acted with impunity are now very careful not to violate civil rights. Those arrested in last week’s raid said they used excessive force but authorities denied the reports.

Teargas was used to disperse the crowd amid reports that a schoolboy returning home was wrongfully arrested. At least two people reported their phones were seized when they attempted to video the clash.

““We will continue on our patrol and we shall not relent on our quest of making The Gambia a drug-free nation. We will enforce the law without prejudice, fear or favor,” Saidybah warned.

Marijuana is the most used outlawed drug in The Gambia. Authorities in the nation renewed their crackdown on its use and torched about two tons of marijuana last month.

Authorities announced zero tolerance towards illegal and illicit drugs and pledged to take strong action against anyone importing, exporting or found in possession of drugs.

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