By Nelson Manneh
Officers of the Anti-Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force (GPF), on Saturday August 17th arrested some people at the Serrekunda Market in connection with the burning of Bakoteh Police Station and the residence of Gorrgi Mboob, Commander of the said Unit.
The arrestees are said to be suspects who allegedly participated in the burning of the Bakoteh Police Station and the residence of Commissioner Mboob. According to eyewitness, the Officers entered the market with one boy who was pointing fingers at individuals in the market who were in turn arrested; that those arrested were taken to the Kairaba Police Station whilst some were taken to Tallinding Police Station; that in the evening of the same day, those kept at Tallinding Police Station where transferred to the Anti-Crime Unit Headquarters in Bijilo.
Dodou Njie, president of the Serrekunda Market association of vendors, told this medium that after his enquiries, he was told that the arrest came in the wake of a panel of investigation that was formed by the authorities, in connection to the burning of the Bakoteh Police Station and the residence of Gorrgi Mboob.
“When these officers came into the Market, they were accompanied by one boy who has always been in the market with us. They went round the market with him and he was pointing fingers at individuals. And it is those individuals who were arrested by the officers and taken away,” he said; that as president of the market association, he asked the Officers why they were arresting those people; that they responded that a panel of investigators was formed to investigate the burning of the Bakoteh Police Station and residence of Gorrgi Mboob, during the recent Serrekunda market protest last July.
“Some of those people arrested yesterday did not participate in the past protest that took place in this market. The investigation panel should have used other means than to just come and conduct arrest randomly,” Njie said; that he cannot confirm the number of people who were arrested because the Officers were going round and effecting the arrests. “Among those arrested, some are mobile phone technicians and sellers at the ‘black’ market and others I do not know or recognized,’’ he said; that as an association, they will struggle for their release.
Mariama Camara a vendor at the market said she does not know the reason associated with the arrest of their colleagues. “I just saw the Officers going round the market and arresting people. Some of us were afraid and even started parking our goods because we thought that the protest has start again,” she noted.
Ms. Camara said if the Police continue to conduct such arrest like this, it may cause another commotion in the market.
At the time of going to press, the Police Public Relations Officer of the GPF ASP Lamin Njie, was contacted to confirm the number of people arrested, but he was unreachable by phone. However, one of the Officers confirmed to this reporter that all those arrested and kept at the Tallinding Police Station, have been transferred to the Anti-Crime Headquarters in Bijilo.