Sunday, June 23, 2024

Gambia: Driver released after six days ‘unlawful’ police detention despite new gov’t pledge

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Although Gambia has booted out a dictatorial regime known for arbitrary arrests, detention without charge or killings and ushered a new government but it still seems law enforcement has not ended its practice of detention without trial and violation of civil rights of Gambians.

Recently, two plainclothes officers arrested and held incommunicado one Bunja Nyassi, a commercial van driver for almost a week without been charge.

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Nyassi, a resident of Bakoteh was reportedly arrested by two plainclothes officers since February 2 and was first held at the Bokoteh Police Station before being transported to the police headquarters in Banjul. He has since been detained and after six days, granted bail without been charged or taken to any competent court of law.

Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty promised that under his watch, the rule of law will be followed and police reform, which will take a priority, will ensure that civil liberties are respected.

According to family sources, Nyassi, was released on bail and told to reporting at the police headquarters. His vehicle that was earlier seized by the police has also been returned to him.

Meanwhile, ASP Foday Conta, the Police Spokesperson was contacted in connection to the unlawful detention of this driver but said he could not elaborate on the reasons for the six days detention but would find out. He only confirmed the release but could not reveal the conditions attached.

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Recalling the day in which the driver was arrested, his apprentice who was an eyewitness to the incident said on that day, they carried passengers from Gunjur and on their arrival at Tipper-Garage where the passengers were supposed to disembarked, two men in plain cloths approached the driver and him to hand over his vehicle (Gele gele) key and licence and go with them to the said station. He said no reason was given for this action but the driver, Bunja, complied and went along with them.

‘‘Few minutes after my husband’s arrest, his apprentice rushed to our home and informed us that my husband was approached by two men in civilian clothes who took him to Bakoteh-Tippa Garage Police Station, where he was briefly held before being transported to the Police Headquarters in Banjul” the wife said.

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