A press statement from the Gambia Police Force indicates that on Friday 15th July 2022, while officers of the Police Intervention Unit were on guard at a Government demarcated land in Salagi, some youth of Sukuta mobilised themselves to cause vandalism by removing pegs and lines / markings used in the mapping of the land area allocated for Salagi market and car park; that as the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and rules of engagement, different layers of engagement to de-escalate the situation were used by the officers to reach out to the youth in order to peacefully disperse them.
The statement continued that the youth failed to adhere to the call of officers to peacefully disperse; that numerous proclamations were subsequently made to have them disperse to no avail, leaving the officers of GPF with no option but to use reasonable means at their disposal to disperse the youth, resulting in the use of light tear gas canisters which caused them to flee the scene.
The police statement said during the pandemonium to flee the scene, one Jerreh Cham was believed to have fallen on some obstacles causing him injuries, and was later arrested and escorted to the hospital for medical attention.
That contrary to information being spread around that he was shot with a rubber bullet, the police in their statement said they wish to make it abundantly clear that the crowd at the scene was engaged with the use of light tear gas canisters only, and that a further study of the nature of the injuries sustained by the suspect will confirm that technically, rubber bullets cannot inflict such injuries on individuals.
The Police statement continued thus:
“We continue to reassure the public that our officers will operate within the limits of the laws and effectively protect the fundamental human rights of individuals at all times.
“The Inspector General’s Office wishes to call on the general public to be law abiding and desist from provoking unrest.
“The public is further encouraged to always use peaceful means including use of competent Courts of law to seek redress especially in matters of land disputes, rather than take the law into their own hands.
“The cooperation of the public is highly solicited.”