The Minister of Information and Communication, Ebrima Sillah, has said that the police water canon was not bought for the December protest, saying “it is obliged on any government to equip its security forces to protect the integrity of its territory.

“And as a result it is not true that the water canon was bought to deal with the situation in December. It may even be that nothing will happen in December but it is important that the security forces have the right equipment in this country and they are ready for any situation, because the peace and tranquility of this country should also be safeguarded.”

Information Minister Ebrima Sillah

A movement calling itself 3 Years Jotna (meaning three years is up in Wolof) has vowed to stage a protest against the president in December.

They are demanding that President Adama Barrow honours his electoral promise of stepping down after 3 years as previously agreed as part of a Coalition of opposition political parties in 2016 that defeated the former president Yahya Jammeh and brought to an end his 22-year rule.

But the President Adama Barrow has rebuffed the calls for him to step down and said that he will be serving his five year mandate as per the constitution.

Anti-riot police officers during a training exercise

And the former Interior Minister Ebrima Mballow, who was sacked in last week cabinet reshuffle, had threatened at a political rally in Brikama that the security forces will used the police water canon to spray hot water on protesters in December.

However, Mr Sillah had refuted the statement of his former cabinet colleague.

”I doubt whether any government will just buy the right equipment for (their) security forces with an event in mind. It is important that we put this thing into context … anything that this government does to help our security is to ensure that they respond effectively in any situation that demand the respond,” he said.

Mr Sillah said when demonstrations are peaceful that the police don’t need any weapon to guide and control that kind of crowd.

He pointed out that “when the demonstrations turn out to be something else that the right equipments like riot gears and lightweapons that have rubber bullets and tear gas and other type of tools to support crowd control are available “.

The information minister said that these riot tools were never available in the Gambia until the Barrow-led government came into office two and half year ago, adding that “the government needs to reorient and reequip the security forces in a civil manner to deal with protests”.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

One Comment

  1. Ebriama sillah we all knew him at citizen fm became a praise singer to Adama Barrow this government mandate is coming to an end

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