Tens of people paid respects to an opposition activist, Haruna Jatta, 52, a supporter of the Gambia’s defeated ruler, Yahya Jammeh, gunned down last week during a protest in southwestern Gambia.
Jatta was laid to rest on Tuesday in Kanilai, 73 miles east of the capital, Banjul where villagers and supporters of Jammeh demonstrated against the presence of West African forces in the Foni region.
“The people of Kanilai clearly do not have genuine reasons for a protest, at least based on what they chanted while marching but ECOMIG use of live rounds on them cannot be justified not matter how much we try to rationalize things,” said human rights defender, Bakary Badjie.
The demonstrations turned violent leaving Mr. Jatta dead and at least five other people injured. Jatta was shot just steps from Jammeh’s abandoned compound, which protesters were demanding to be returned to his family.
Gambia’s Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty said some of the protesters were armed with locally made firearms and engaged in provocative actions wounding three security officials.
Gambian authorities seized the former leader’s domestic assets accusing him of corruption and stealing billions. Jammeh fled to Equatorial Guinea after West African troops forced him to step aside and hand over to President Adama Barrow.
Activists and opposition leaders say Jatta’s death is a serious incident, a sad occurrence and expect an independent investigation to resolve it.
An opposition leader and former Majority Leader of Gambia’s parliament, Fabakary Tombong Jatta has accused the government of Adama Barrow of targeting Jammeh supporters.
“I hope that those who think differently in Gambia also get a chance to express their views, although I know that this is anything but easy,” says Jatta.
The regional economic bloc has called for restraint. The bloc backed Barrow’s rise to power after Jammeh’s refusal to step aside and deployed the ECOMIG forces to enforce the outcome the December presidential polls.