A statue at the entrance of the Gambia’s capital, marking the coming to power of the West African nation’s autocratic ruler, Yahya Jammeh has been taken down.
The ‘Unknown Soldier,” was part of the Arch 22 monument that Yahya Jammeh erected, shortly after taking power in a military coup in 1994, ousting the regime of Sir Dawda Jawara.
A soldier posing with the peace sign, holding a child with his right hand and an AK47 hanging on his back stares at those entering the island capital, Banjul.
Jammeh was defeat in an election last year that shocked the world. His defeat saw giant billboards and photos of him taken down by supporters of the new leader, Adama Barrow.
Jammeh first accepted defeat and agreed to gracefully transfer power to Mr. Barrow. But a week later, the paranoid ruler reversed his decision, claiming the elections were rigged.
It sparked a movement, #GambiaHasDecided and his “Uknown Soldier” was dressed in a t-shirt demanding he steps down.
The “Unknown Soldier” with the ARCH 22 is the most symbolic structure signifying Jammeh’s rule. It has been a tourist attraction and has a museum chronicling the longtime military-backed leader’s brutal rule.
Authorities are yet to say who authorized the removal of the “Unknown Soldier” statue. Its removal may spark debate as to what should have being done with the monument.
The statue was found lying covered on a near cross street and no vandalism was reported by the caretakers of the monument, which was a first of its kind in the small West African nation.