By Mustapha Jallow
The Drug Law Enforcement Agency Gambia (DLEAG) on Tuesday said the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is presently investigating allegations of assault and abuse on Mr (name withheld), who is suspected for the possession of cannabis sativa.
“The National Human Rights Commission is presently investigating the matter and as such, we may not want to comment further on this issue until they are done with their investigations. I am sure that once they are done with their probe, they will share their findings with all concerned parties for further action,“ DLEAG spokesperson Ousman Saidybah said in a statement.
The suspect, 24, native of Brikamaba, was arrested by the DLEAG officers stationed in Bansang on 13th September 2021, around 9pm.
“We are very much aware of the said incident. Management’s position is however very clear. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards abuse and excesses by our staff. Part III subpart III of the agency’s code of conduct is very clear. It frowns at the unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority by staff members in the due execution of their duty,” Saidybah added.
According to him, the agency had set up a Professional Standard Disciplinary Committee (PSDC) with the sole responsibility of investigating all forms of professional misconduct by their staff. He said their goal is to ensure that they maintain a high standard of professional conduct and create an avenue for the public to lodge complaints and seek redress.
But DLEAG’s Saidybah informed Foroyaa: “We bring this to public attention because we want them to know that there are avenues where they can lodge complaints and be assured that the matter will be professionally dealt with.”
He said what they gathered at preliminary stages from the operatives concerning the alleged assault and abuse incident at Brikamaba was that they (drug agents) conducted an operation in a hotspot area in Brikamaba – Darslameh Junction.
“Mr S (name withheld) was arrested by DLEAG officers with five (5) parcels and two (2) wraps of suspected cannabis after officers received several complaints from residents and the public,” Saidybah explained.
According to him, as the officers proceeded, they encountered a person later identified as Mr X(name withheld) alias Legal, saying he (Mr X) was carrying a multi-colored bag on his back.
“He tried to run away but was apprehended by the operatives. Thereafter, a search was conducted on him and they found eighty-eight (88) wraps of suspected Cannabis Sativa. The officers then decided to take him into custody,” he said.
He alleged that as the officers tried to get him on board the vehicle, the suspect faced the boys gathered there and said that they should not stand by and be looking, while the officers took him into custody.
“The officers said that at this point, a push and pull ensued and they faced serious resistance and obstruction. They were pelted with stones from different directions,” he said.
Saidybah further said Mr X was however taken into custody and later transported to Bansang Hospital, where he was admitted for two days.
“When he was released on the third day, the officers opened bail for him and once he was able to fulfill the bail conditions, he was granted bail,” he added.