Activists and opposition leaders are uniting to force Gambian authorities to open an independent investigation into the killing of a protester in Kanilai in the hands of West African troops.
Haruna Jammeh, 54, a supporter of Gambia’s defeated despot, Yahya Jammeh died after being shot in the stomach during a confrontation between demonstrators and ECOMIG forces.
Gambia’s Homeland Security Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty blamed protesters for the clash accusing them of engaging in provocative violence and attacking security forces.
An opposition activist, David Kujabi denied that protesters were carrying one barreled locally made firearm and alleged that security forces in the region, mostly West African troops have been harassing, threatening and detaining them unlawfully.
According to activist Pa Samba Jow, an investigation could ensure that shooting was justifiable, and to arrest whatever or whoever was behind this incident.
Jow frowned upon government supporters, who have been calling for the mass shooting of protesters just a year after a former Gambian diplomat to UN called for the same against opposition protesters.
“Those who are calling for blood must be reminded that President Barrow is a democrat whose aspiration is to lead our country from brutal tyranny to an absolute democracy,” he said.
“The last thing that Barrow wants to is to be remembered as a leader under whose tenure Gambians are killed by security forces.”
However, Jow and other activists say those instigating these problems must understand that “your right to protest does not include rioting and destruction of properties.”
“The call for Jammeh’s coming back and the withdrawal of ECOMIG will not happen. Barrow is the legitimately elected President of the Republic and this must be respected.”
Barrow on Monday extended the mandate of the West African troops, called ECOMIG, for another 12 months after the clash. Reports emerged that some of the protesters were members of the Gambia’s army loyal to Jammeh.