Gambia: Bafuloto Imam and Alkalo released

A Muslim cleric and a village head that were detained by Gambian authorities for attempting to negotiate the release of suspected rioters were released by the police.

The Imam and Alkalo of Bufuloto village in the Busumbala District were detained for a night, according to family members.

Their abrupt detention reminded activists of the month-long detention of youths that were arrested last month during violent demonstrations in Farato.

The seven were charged for willful damage of properties, assaulting police officers, incitement of violence, and riotously destroying machinery.

They appeared before a judge at a magistrates’ court in Brikama, who committed them to custody. They were since held in remand without reappearing in court.

The Imam and Alkalo have joined their families over the weekend and activists welcomed their release, and called on the government to release the protesters on bail.

An eviction order sparked the Farato riot as affected families protest the demolition of homes that the government says are built on illegally purchased lands.

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