At least 13 people have been arrested by Gambian authorities in its southwestern Foni region, where its defeated president, Yahya Jammeh has strong backing following a deadly clash between regional troops and supporters of the ousted leader.
The 13 people, most of whom are the suspected leaders of a protest that turned violent on Friday were arrested in their homes for taking part in an “illegal demonstration,” according to the police spokesperson, Foday Conta.
Tens of people protested in Kanilai demanding the exit of regional troops that helped President Adama Barrow to force Jammeh to flee in January. They also demanded the return of Jammeh assets, which were frozen by authorities last month.
“The people were running everywhere and the paramilitary police were chasing them. Nine people were arrested in my presence” said the MP for the Foni Kansala district and former minister under Jammeh, Musa Amul Nyassi.
The nine people were arrested in Kanilai, the epicenter of the
uproar, two others in Bwiam and one in Kalagi, and detained at various police stations in the Kombo Metropolitan Area.
The West African authorities have declined to release their location citing security concerns amid threats of reprisal and forceful freeing by angry villagers and opposition militants.
Friday’s protest has left one person dead and several people injured. It has threatened to descend the country into a conflict that was averted in January.
Gambia’s President Adama Barrow is attending the ECOWAS meeting in Liberia’s capital Monrovia. He is faced with security challenges as the military begins the exercise to weed out those that were enlisted to the army without due process, most of them loyalist of the ex-leader.