Supporters of former Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh are seen on the tarmac at the Banjul International Airport, Gambia January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

APRC decries attempts to “silence” the party

The party of Gambia’s former autocratic ruler, Yahya Jammeh, has denounced attempts by the police to silence them following a brief interrogation of their interim party leader, Fabakary Tombong Jatta.

Tombong, a former lawmaker under Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party, was called for questioning by the police in Banjul.

Mr. Jatta who reported to the headquarters at Buckle Street spent hours being interrogated by police and while the interrogation went on, senior officials of the party arrived and waited on the corridors.

As news spread about the presence of their senior leaders at the police, scores of slogan-chanting APRC supporters gathered in front of the police station carrying placards which read: “FTJ will never walk alone”.

The party leader emerged somehow somber but also buoyant.

He told waiting journalists and supporters that he was invited and questioned over a certain statement made.

“I was invited to clarify certain comments I made. I discussed with them and we agreed to disagree on certain things because one has to differentiate political statements from all other things. But thank God all went well. We call on our supporters, as usual, to remain resolute and law-abiding and then we move forward,” FTJ said.

Seedy Njie, a senior member of the APRC, accused the police of paranoia, adding that the measure was intended to silence the APRC.

“But I want to assure all our party supporters that the party will continue to exist,” Njie said.

The police did not make any public statement on the matter but a source told the local Standard Newspaper that authorities want to discourage the use of language that may cause or incite hatred at a time when the country is in the process of healing in the wake of the changes of last January.

(Reporting and Writing by Mustapha Darboe; Editing by Sam Phatey)

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