By: Dawda Baldeh
Hundreds of supporters and sympathizers of the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) stormed the city of Banjul earlier this afternoon as the sedition charges against the Chairman of Brikama Area Council’s trial resumed at Banjul Magistrate Court.
These supporters, who gathered outside the court premises alongside the chairman, faced increasing tension with the paramilitaries and vowed to sacrifice their lives if the case continued.
Mariama Bojang, a resident of Sukuta, accused the paramilitary of using excessive force by firing tear gas on them.
“We elected Yankuba Darboe for the development of the West Coast Region,” she said. She added that their purpose for gathering outside the court premises was to raise their voices against what she described as injustice, intimidation, and an abuse of power.
In her opinion, the case should be dismissed as it happened three years ago. Ms. Bojang also accused the government of politicizing the issue and questioned why it wasn’t raised before the 2022 election.
“We want justice to prevail, and we will not give up even if it costs us our lives,” she asserted. She described the charges against Chairman Darboe as sabotage to the people of the West Coast Region.
The supporters and sympathizers believed the charges against Chairman Darboe were politically motivated and called on the authorities to immediately withdraw them.
“If the government is concerned about the people of the West Coast, they should free Yankuba,” another supporter told The Fatu Network.
“Those paramilitary forces firing tear gas at us should know they are doing it to their fellow citizens. This is total injustice, and it needs to stop because we are not here to fight. I will not forgive the people responsible; they are the enemies of this country,” said Aja Musukebba Gitteh from Brusubi.
She warned that young people serving in the security forces should not be used against civilians. The elderly woman stressed that they had sacrificed a lot to see the change that most Gambians are enjoying today but urged the youth to ensure peace and stability.
“The power vested in the President, if divided into two, the other quarter belongs to Yankuba because he was also elected. I’m urging the President to allow peace to prevail in the country because he is behind all of this. We want peace in the country. There are many corrupt individuals in his government who are free, including ministers, protocols, and so on,” said Sulayman Jawneh from Farato.
While supporters of the opposition party attempted to force their way into the premises, paramilitaries also fired tear gas to disperse the anxious crowd of supporters. This resulted in many protesters in Banjul fainting.
Hundreds of protesters chanted “Justice for Yankuba, no to intimidation, never again…” while holding banners in the city of Banjul.
Momodou Salifu Gibba, a councilor in one of the wards in the West Coast Region, vowed to give away his life if the Yankuba case continued.
“I don’t mind losing my life as long as this case is not withdrawn. What the government is doing is not correct, and if they want the paramilitary to fire live bullets, we don’t care. They are treating us inhumanely,” vowed Bansu Barry of Brufut village.
These anxious people could be heard shouting from a distance, calling on the authorities to withdraw the case for peace to prevail. They expressed concern that if citizens didn’t come together to fight against inhumane treatment, injustice, and intimidation, the future would remain uncertain.