Gambian authorities issued a stern warning Friday that is will not condone acts that seek to prune the security of the homeland.
Gambia’s police minister, Mai Ahmad Fatty said the police and other law enforcement agencies will not relent in performing their responsibilities in maintaining law and order.
Fatty’s warning came after a protest over land dispute turned violent in Farato, a small town 20 miles southwest of the capital, Banjul.
Several people were injured during Tuesday’s riots, including police officers; vehicles were burnt, and a local real estate company, Manor Properties had their agents attacked, and at least two of their vehicles and a Caterpillar wheel dozer set on fire.
At least seven people have been charged for willful damage of properties, assaulting police officers, incitement of violence, and riotously destroying machinery.
“This is a mindless violence and there will be zero tolerance for indiscipline…. They must be made to understand that such acts are unacceptable. That you cannot attack law enforcement officials for simply doing their job,” Fatty said.
The Farato protest was sparked by the demolition of some dozen homes built on a disputed lands that were reportedly sold ‘illegally’ to the current occupants.
Law enforcement officials reported being attacked by residents and authorities accuse protesters of attacking a local police station forcing the deployment of the riot police to contain the tension.
Some activists say many young citizens are misunderstanding and abusing the country’s new found democracy and using their right to protest to incite violence.
Gambia has seen several protests in the last two weeks. Protesters resisted the selling of a land in Kololi, in the Kanifing region by one of the country’s ambassadors at large, Saul Frazer of Global Properties.
The Farato incident is regarded a warning for could be similar incidents around the West African nation if a land’s commission is not established to settle disputes.