Gambia releases opposition demonstrators on bail

Gambia releases opposition demonstrators on bail

Gambia has released dozens of opposition protesters from its unruly Kansala District following the last week’s violent demonstration that left one person dead.

A court in the West Coast Region’s administrative city of Brikama granted bail at D500,000 (US$12,500) to the protesters after they were arraigned for unlawful assembly and incitement of violence.

Kanilai descended into chaos when supporters of defeated President Yahya Jammeh demanded the withdrawal of West African forces from the southwestern districts of Foni and the return of the seized properties of the ex-ruler.

Several people were wounded in the clashes that ensued between demonstrators and West African troops that left 52-year-old Haruna Jatta dead.

Gambian authorities say the demonstrators did not secure a permit from the police and were engaged in violent provocative behaviors and brandishing their locally made firearm – a single barrelled gun called Kartus.

Protesters, who burnt tires and blocked roads making it through security barricades towards Jammeh’s abandoned compound guarded by security forces denied being armed.

Kanilai residents accuse West African troops of harassing, intimidating, threatening and unlawfully detaining them when they attend to their farms and livestock.

The situation in Kanilai is still tense and remains restive following the arrest of the protesters in the district and neighboring towns.

Foni has seen unrest since Jammeh’s uncolorful departure from power. Government and opposition supporters clashed following the parliamentary elections leaving several people injured and some properties damaged.

Gambian authorities have reinforced security and deployed more troops in the Foni region. Following last week’s protest, President Adama Barrow widened and extended the mandate of the West African forces to 12 months.

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