By Louise Jobe
Information reaching this medium disclose that thirty people were arrested by security forces in Kerr Alhagie Keru village in Jokadu District for performing Friday congregational prayers thereby breaching the social distancing and public gathering prevention measures.
Sulayman Nyang a native of Kerr Alhagie Keru village in Jokadu said the Police from Kerewan Station came to their village with three pick-up trucks and arrested the Imam of the village Muhammad Nyang and thirty others immediately after the Friday prayers; that twenty one were taken to Kerewan Police Station whilst nine others were taken to Barra Police Station; that those arrested were charged and released on bail and will report on Monday 20th April 2020.
Nyang said on Saturday 18th April 2020, the Station Officer of Kerewan Police called for some of the elders from the village to report to the Station; that when they arrived, they were told that the charges against them (including the Imam) were dropped but were strongly advised to desist from engaging in Friday congregational prayers until Government decides otherwise.
Similar arrests took place at two West Coast Region villages – at Gidda village of Kombo East where Imam Alhagie Dembo Badjie was arrested and Bwiam in Foni Kansala where Imam Alhagie Mbowe was arrested. The Imam of Gidda together with his assistant, were taken to Giboro Police Station amid protests from the congregation and at the time of going to press he was still in custody. The Imam of Bwiam was taken to Bwiam Police Station, but it is not known whether he was later released or not. Both arrests were effected by security personnel on Friday 17th April 2020.
Several attempts to reach the Police PRO on Sunday for comment were unsuccessful.