Court security officers arrive at the Supreme Court in Banjul, Gambia December 5, 2016. Picture taken December 5, 2016. REUTERS/ Thierry Gouegnon

Police arrest retired officer in Sibanor after search mission turns out no weapons

Gambian authorities arrested a retired police officer, Ousman Jarju in Sibanor on suspicion of hoarding firearms amid the tensions in the Foni region.

At least three trucks of a squad of officers surrounded Jarju’s home and carried out a search. No weapons were found but eyewitnesses say he was, however, whisked away by the police.

Jarju arrest came after Gambian authorities accused Jammeh supporters last week of brandishing locally made firearms during a protest in Kanilai that has left one person dead and several people injured.

Jarju’s family is accusing authorities of targeting him for his ethnicity and being a supporter of the ex-president, Yahya Jammeh.

“My brother Ousman Jarju, is a victim of ethnic retribution. Jolas are being falsely arrested in the Gambia. He hasn’t done anything to warrant his arrest,” Fansainey Jarju told the Freedom Newspaper.

Barrow’s government has denied being tribalist and has called for unity amongst citizens. Charges against dozens of people arrested following post-electoral violence in Foni were dropped in the spirit of ‘national reconciliation.’

Jammeh’s step mom was reportedly married to Jarju’s father and has had issues with supporters of the ruling coalition government.

Gambian authorities believe Jammeh his hiding weapons in Foni and Casamance, where he still has strong backing. Jammeh’s supporters in the area are demanding the withdrawal of West African troops.

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