By Makutu Manneh
The Gambia Armed Forces said on Tuesday its forces in the President’s convoy used non-lethal force against a KMC truck driver after the latter refused to park his vehicle off the road.
The comment by the Gambia Armed Forces came on the heels of allegation by Gambia Transport Union that personnel of ECOMIG and GAF assaulted one of its members in the person of Ebrima I.S Bah.
According to the Union, a member of their union and a garbage collection truck driver at KMC, was insulted by a Gambian officer and punched on the mouth by an ECOMIG officer.
The Gambia Armed Forces said the incident could have been avoided and that the scene was regrettable.
However, the Deputy Spokesperson of GAF, Captain Malick Sanyang, said they understood that the advance Convoy of the president did ask the KMC truck driver to park off the road, but he refused.
“As a result of refusal on the part of the driver this resulted in the use of non-lethal Force (not likely to cause great bodily harm) required to clear the truck off the road,” he said.
“However, the military police of the State Guard Battalion have since been tasked by command to conduct a verifiable account of this unfortunate and avoidable incident.”
Captain Sanyang reminded the public that a lot of tax-payers’ money is invested into training for the protection of ‘any Head-of-State’ which he believes if they fail would have consequences on the state.
He said duty bearers are given tasks under strict regulations to provide certain functions with no room for failure and such can be attainable only with the support of the public.
Captain Sanyang said the security personnel will do the utmost needful in their operations bearing in mind enforcement responsibilities without ill-will.
This incident is said to have occurred on Saturday 28th August 2021, at Westfield.
The officers are reported to be on a motorcade which was not making any sirens for drivers to give way, the Union President said.
Omar Cessey, President of Gambia Transport Union, explained that “The union was informed by Ebrima that he did not hear any sound of the escort that he saw the convoy coming through the truck’s mirror and then he gave way.”
“He said (Ebrima I.S Bah) when he parked his truck a Gambian Officer approached him, insulted him, hit him with a bottle and tore his clothes after which an ECOMIG officer punched him on the mouth,” the Union added.
The union’s president said such an assault is a violation of Ebrima’s right as a citizen of The Gambia since the country is governed by laws.
“This is unfair and unconstitutional,” the union’s president said.
Mr. Cessey said the matter was reported to a police station and that Ebrima’s statement and evidence were later taken to the Serrekunda hospital by the police.
He called on the government to investigate the matter and hold the people responsible to account, adding the union will not relent on the matter as they will also engage the National Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Inspector General of Police.