Sunday, April 18, 2021

People Urged To Report Alleged Violations by the Anti-Crime Unit

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By Yankuba Jallow

Police spokesperson, Superintendent Lamin Njie has called on the people making allegation of transgression by the police during their operation to enforce the curfew order, to come forward and lodge complaint against their officers.

PRO Njie stated this when Foroyaa wrote to him informing him about allegations levelled by members of the public against the police at night in their drive to enforce the order by the Gambia Government.

“And I suggest you (Foroyaa) advise the people concerned to come forward and report at the police headquarters professional standard unit or complaints office for investigations into the conduct of the officers,” Njie said.

The police have been charged with the responsibility of enforcing the curfew ordered by The Gambia Government. The Government on Wednesday night declared curfew throughout the country. The enforcement of the curfew order began on Thursday and so far the police have arrested over two hundred people.

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The police have launched an operation dubbed Operation Safe our Soul to curtail the further spread of covid-19 in the Gambia. The operation involves the enforcement of all regulations formulated by the Gambia Government to curb the spread of the Coronavirus in the country.

Some residents of Kanifing Municipality have accused the Anti-Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force of transgression.

PRO Njie said the Anti-Crime Unit is part of the patrol team adding “they are not the only people in the operation.” He said the operation includes other units adding if the people come forward to make their complaints, then they will launch investigation into their allegation.

Some residents of Tallinding, Sukuta, Abuko, New Jeshwang, Latrikunda and other areas have accused the police of going into their compounds asking them to enter their rooms forcefully. In The Gambia people living in the same households sit inside their compounds and brew green tea together as they do chitchat, while some sit outside their compound gates just to wait for the police to emerge and they rush into their compounds.

The people point accusing fingers at the Anti-Crime unit of the police of going inside their compounds asking them to disperse and to enter their rooms.

“I feel that the Anti-Crime is taking the law in their hands. How can they force us to go into our rooms?,” Alhajie Jallow, a resident of Latrikunda said.

“The Anti-Crime met me with my family sitting at the veranda and they ordered us to go inside our house. I was confused and when I asked why they said it is part of their job,” Samuel Njie of Old Jeshwang said.

“The Anti-Crime came with their batons and met me sitting with my son brewing green tea (ataya) and they wanted to hit my son. When I confronted them, they told me everyone should be inside their houses,” Ebrima Badjie, a resident of Sukuta said.

“The Anti-Crime should not come to our homes. The police found my son sitting at our compound square browsing with his phone and they chased him inside our house. They wanted to take him, but his brother who is also a security personnel intervened and he was released,” Isatou Jallow, a resident of Sukuta said.

Shopkeepers within KM also accused the Anti-Crime of transgression. In The Gambia, majority of the shopkeepers live in their shops. Of recent, many shopkeepers have accused the Anti-Crime Unit of knocking at their shops late at night.

“I closed my shop and I was inside the shop watching television because it’s where I live. So when personnel of the Anti-Crime came and saw the light, they knocked at my door insisting that I must open the door or else they will break-in,” Mamasalieu Jallow, a shop keeper at Churchills Town said.

The shopkeeper said after he opened his shop, he was arrested by the Anti-Crime and he was taken up to Tabokoto and he was later released by the Police.

Another shopkeeper in Tallinding said she lives inside her shop and was watching series on her television when the Anti-Crime came and knocked at her door.

“The police said I should put off my light or else they will arrest me,” Isatou Jallow said.

Bubacarr Bah, another shopkeeper in Tallinding said almost every day he usually has encounter with the police.

“On the first day of the curfew, they knocked at the door of my shop asking me to open and when I opened the shop, they entered my shop. They got in and observed the shop as they left without making any comments,” Bah said.

He said on the second night, the police came and knocked at his shop door, asking him to open.

“I opened the door and this time they said I should not put on my light,” he adduced.

He explained that on the third night, he was asked to give them some money and when he refused, they told him they will be coming back for him.

“I was left in confusion because I don’t know what they will do next. It is the same group and the same people coming to me every day,” he said.

On Sunday night, he said they came and knocked at his shop door but this time he refused to open it.

“I refused to open it because I was advised not to open for them. They were here making noise and threatening to break the door, but I was reluctant to open. When they were tired, they left,” Bah said.

He advised shopkeepers not to give bribes.

“Let us close of our shops on or before 10 pm. We should comply with the Regulations, but no one should open their shops for the Anti-Crime Unit,” he said.

The shopkeepers who Foroyaa interviewed called on the police command to regulate the Anti-Crime Unit because they are violating their rights.

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