The Minister of Interior, Mai Ahmed Fatty in a late night statement on the State broadcaster GRTS condemned the incident that took place in Kanilai, the birthplace of the former president on Friday, 2 June, 2017.
Minister Fatty condemned the actions taken by the residents of Foni particularly the people of Kanilai and the border villages of Cassamance who took to the streets without acquiring a permit to protest. Some of the protesters were also said to have carried local arms demanding the joint security including the ECOMIG forces to leave the village.
“During the exchange two protesters and one ECOMIG officer were injured. Unfortunately, one of the injured protestors died this morning at the EFST Hospital in Banjul,” Minister Mai Ahmed Fatty said.
He added: “There were 22 people arrested from the incident while the village head of Kanilai and others went into hiding but efforts are on the way to find them.”
The Interior Minister in his televised statement to the nation said the President of the republic has convened an emergency security meeting with the security chiefs to address the circumstances prevailing in the country particularly the Kanilai incident. He warned all and sundry to respect the laws of the country as security threats will not be tolerated from anyone. He noted that all regions and communities in the country are under the state and cannot operate in isolation or otherwise.
Minister Fatty went further to justify the presence of the ECONOMIC soldiers in the country which he said was caused by the former president when he refused to step down and hand over power peacefully after the Gambian people decided to vote him out of office on December 1 presidential elections.
He asserted that the constitution has guaranteed the right for peaceful protest or freedom of assembly or association but it must be exercised within the confines of the law. He warned against those abusing the laws under the pretext of democracy. This he said is unacceptable.
“You either abide by the law or you will be consume by the law,” he warned.
The Interior Minister called on community leaders particularly the chiefs and village heads in Foni to engage their people through dialogue to maintain peace and order as the Gambia is known to be a peace loving country.
Meanwhile, Minister Fatty commended the security forces who has exercised restrain and maturity to deescalate the tension that might have gone out of control especially after the protesters with local arms provoked them in the neighboring border villages of Casamance, the southern part of Senegal. He called on them to exercise maximum restraint in handling the problem. He said the government is watching closely on the unveiling scenarios.
Interior Minister Fatty earlier posted on his Facebook page that he cut short his trip to Monrovia where he represented The Gambia at ECOWAS security Ministerial meetings, and returned home to focus attention on internal security developments. He added that the peace, safety and security of our nation and people must remain top most priority.