Police Command Meet Brikama Area Council Amid ‘Operation Clear the Roads’ Saga

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By Louise Jobe & Hatab Nyang

A police delegation headed by Commissioners Famara Jallow and Pateh Jallow met the leadership of the Brikama Area Council to discuss recent incidents involving personnel of the ‘Operation Clear Roads’ with some people, including members of the Council.

The meeting was held at the Council on Tuesday, 11th of June 2024. The purpose of the stakeholders’ meeting was to discuss issues concerning Brikama Market.

Bakary Manneh, the leader of Operation Clear the Roads said their activities are not meant to intimidate or destroy any businesses, but to act under the powers vested in them by law. 

“We are not here to intimidate anybody. We are not here to destroy any form of business. Our responsibility is to exercise our role by following the law. That is to clear the public roads, and we will continue to do so,” he assured. 

Mr Manneh admitted that the chaos was caused by a lack of communication between the two authorities.

“The chaos broke due to lack of communication. Now, we had our understanding during the dialogue. We will jointly collaborate with the Council to clear the roads within Brikama,” he said.

Yankuba Darboe, the Chairman of the BAC said his council had to take the bull by the horn to be heard by the authorities after several attempts to meet the “Operation Clear the Roads” team failed. 

“The reason why we were making a lot of noise is because we [felt that] we were not heard. We wanted to be heard since day one but to no avail. My vice chairman and some members of the council tried to have a dialogue with the operation team, but it was not possible. This has led us to the unfortunate circumstance on Monday afternoon. Thank God we have been able to dialogue with the operation team and the Gambia police force so that the Council can state its position on some of the things surrounding the market,” he revealed. 

Yankuba Darboe said the Operation is a national initiative, adding that the Brikama Area Council welcomes it wholeheartedly. 

“It is the roads that they mentioned, but we are talking about our market. It’s our market that is affected, which is why we had to take the stance we took on Monday to be heard,” the Chairman stipulated. 

“We agreed that the operation would be halted until after Tobaski. We want the Council to be allowed to manage our market as assigned by the law. When we have problems, we can invite the operation team to assist, but if not, we have our own Municipal Police that should be able to manage our market,” Yankuba Darboe said.

On Monday 10th June 2024, the Operation Clear The Road team went to Brikama for clearing and a scuffle ensued between the task force, vendors and some youths from Brikama which led to some arrests.

Chairman Yankuba Darboe arrived with his supporters to confront the task force, and the situation escalated to the point where stones were thrown. The police responded by using tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Police Commissioners Famara Jalllow and Pateh Jallow represented the police command in the meeting. They preached the message of peace and called on the Council’s leadership to join them in the national crusade. The head of the Council was admonished to be preaching messages of peace. Chairman Yankuba Darboe committed that the situation would be addressed after ‘Tobaski’ and the people selling at the roadside move from their places.