Gambia releases arrested drivers on bail

Gambia releases arrested drivers on bail

A court outside the Gambia’s capital has released on bail at least 50 drivers charged with obstructing traffic and violent provocations during a sit-down strike that left hundreds stranded.

The men pleaded not guilty and Kanifing Magistrate Court judge, Hillary Abeke granted them bail at $1,250 (D50,000 dalasis), while transport union leaders enter fresh talks with authorities.

Transport union leaders say the drivers were supposed to be released without any charges or preconditions. They had negotiated with the police hoping their members will not be charged.

Drivers were angered by the lowering of fares and accused the government of being inconsiderate. The decision by the government, they say, would affect their business.

Gambia’s trade department said fuel prices were lowered since 2013 and that the lowering of fares has been long overdue. Citizens welcomed the reductions, which will bring prices down to the lowest in nearly a decade.

The transport ministry has put its foot down vowing to maintain the new fare prices to protect consumers. The drivers’ union has called off the road boycotts as talks resumed.

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