By Mustapha Jallow
Gambian Police have on Monday detained Jerrending Sanyang, a top official of former President Yahya Jammeh’s backed “No Alliance Movement” and two other senior militants of the movement (Sankung Badjie and Ebrima Sanneh alias ‘A Samai.’)
The ‘No Alliance Movement’ is a breakaway of the APRC party, rebelling against the APRC-NPP merger which was announced recently by the Fabakary Tombong Jatta’s led executive.
Jerrending Sanyang was briefly held at Banjulinding Police Station before being transferred to Police Headquarters in Banjul at 12pm. But Badjie and Sanneh remain detained at Banjulinding Police Station.
Their arrest came in the wake of Jammeh’s loyalists (‘No Alliance Movement’) inviting the press for a press conference at Sanyang’s house in Lamin on Monday 25th October 2021.
But the press conference later turned into a confrontation between Jammeh’s supporters and government security forces. The conference could not hold after paramilitary officers (police) stormed into Sanyang’s house and told him that he was wanted at the Banjulinding Police Station.
“They (Police) asked Jerrending to go with them, but the Police’s request was turned down. He (Jerrending) told the Police he will be going with his militants,” said Tairu Badjie, a member of the ‘No Alliance Movement’ who was found standing outside the Banjulinding Police Station.
Badjie explained that this led to a confrontation. Thereafter, he said a reinforcement of riot police started firing teargas at the supporters. It was then Jerrending and one Prof. Badjie were picked up on the spot by state security agents at 11am, he added.
“Upon arrival at the station, Prof. Badjie was eventually released but Jerrending remained behind bars,” Tairu Badjie explained.
Tairu Badjie also said Sankung and Ebrima were arrested outside the Banjulinding Police Station after they were protesting and demanding the release of their colleagues.
The Banjulinding station was filled with Jammeh’s supporters, who were visibly furious and asking for the release of their arrested colleagues.
The rebel movement supporters were seen trooping in and out of the building (Banjulinding police station). A group of paramilitary officers armed with their teargas were also seen around the office of the West Coast Region Commissioner of Police.
Sheikh Tijan Hydara, the leader of Gambia Alliance for National Unity (GANU), who is now in alliance with former President Jammeh’s backed ‘No Alliance Movement’, was also seen at the police station talking to senior police officers as well as facilitating for the release of Jammeh’s supporters.
He later drove to Banjul Police Headquarters to talk to Jerrending and met with the Police Chief over the matter.
The shirt worn by Hydara’s driver had blood stain on it. Injuries were seen on his hand, leg and other parts of his body. He alleged that he was shot with teargas by law enforcement officers during the confrontation between APRC ‘No Alliance Movement’ and the paramilitary officers.
Speaking to the Police Spokesperson on the matter, Superintendent Lamin Njie, said: “We can confirm the arrest of Jerrending Sanyang in connection to an investigation into an unlawful assembly. Two others were also arrested for riotous conduct contrary to laws of The Gambia. They are currently helping police with their investigations.”
Meanwhile, Kerr Fatou reporter Lamin Fatty told Foroyaa that he was invited to cover the press conference. Thereabout at Jerrending’s compound, he saw paramilitary officers who told Jerrending that he was needed at the police station.
He said he was filming what looked like an arrest at the police station. He said one of the officers held his hand and told him to stop filming. His gadgets would be seized and he was held briefly, but released moments later.
The Police Commissioner for West Coast Region, Pateh Jallow, told Foroyaa that reporter Fatty was not arrested. He said they were trying to stop Fatty from filming a security installation- the Banjulinding Police Station in this case- without talking to them. He said they talked to him to know who he was and when they knew he was a reporter, they handed over his gadgets back to him.