Local chiefs in Gambia’s opposition stronghold urges citizens to accept election verdict

At least four local chiefs in the southern Gambian opposition-backed Foni region have called on their citizens to respect the outcome of last year’s presidential polls.

Foni has been the epicenter of unrest owing to the ouster of self-serving strongman, Yahya Jammeh, who hails from the region’s Kansala District.

At least one person has died in clashes with security forces in Kansala and close to a hundred people arrested in Foni since January.

The Chiefs of Kansala, Berefet, Bintang, Bondali and Jarrol – Biran Camara, Junkung Camara, Alfusainey Jarjue, Ebou Colley and Kutubo Sanyang called for their citizens to accept Jammeh’s exile as “the will of God.”

“Governments come and go, so also President Adama Barrow’s government will one day go and pave way for another government to steer the affairs of the country for good,” they said.

“President Adama Barrow and his government don’t have any ill-attitude against the people of Foni nor do they hate them and we should know that Gambia is bigger than all of us.”

Although Barrow’s administration recycled some of Jammeh’s ex-officials, members of the former ruling party accused it of tribalism and discriminating against the minority Jola tribe that makes most of the Fonis.

Jammeh’s APRC ruled The Gambia for 22 years and lost its majority in parliament in April following Jammeh’s shocking exit.

It won only five parliamentary seats, all of them from the districts that make the Fonis.

In February, at least 22 people were arrested for attacking government supporters and later released in the spirit of national reconciliation, authorities say.

Gambian authorities dropped charges against 52 people from Foni that were also involved in violence that followed parliamentary elections in April.

It has last month released on bail 23 others that were involved in a protest that led to clashes with West African forces, mainly from neighboring Senegal outside Jammeh’s seized compound in the Foni Kansala village of Kanilai.

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