Opinion | President Barrow should act with immediate effect to end the rise in crime in The Gambia

The current trend of homicide, manslaughter and traffic accidents in The Gambia is increasing on a daily basis in an alarming rate. 

This has caused panic and discomfort in the hearts of Gambians. The Gambia Government must bear in mind that the safety and security of Gambian citizens and residents should be its number one priority and whatever would jeopardise the national security should be addressed without delay. 

It is disappointing, for the fact that the efforts that have been put in place to deal with the rate of murder cases and traffic accidents in The Gambia have had little effect. 

I call on the Inspector General of Gambia Police to remind the traffic police officers of their duties so that the their focus will not only be on driving licenses and other vehicle documents, but it should also be their priority to ensure that the vehicles are road worthy. 

This will ensure that faulty vehicles that could possibly cause traffic accident are detected and are taken off the road. 

Since the change of Government in 2016, more than 100 innocent lives have been lost due to homicide, manslaughter and traffic accidents. There are other additional deaths where the causes remained unknown.

“Police Accident Statistic indicated that 115 people die annually from road traffic accidents and 775 road accidents occurred annually. In addition to the deaths, about 169 people sustained serious injuries each year,” a recent Police report said. 

The homicide incidents in Kudan CRR, Busumbala homicide involving Maria Mendy and Zeizon Gomez, Bakau garden incidents, Sanyang Incident and Brikama Jokor incidents, just to name few, are all clear justifiable reasons to question the peace and security of Gambia. 

All the aforementioned crimes of manslaughter and homicides which are yet to be satisfactory resolved have sown doubts in the minds of the public. 

I am calling on the Government of His Excellency Mr Adama Barrow to act with immediate effect in ensuring that the security of the Gambia and her people which is already in jeopardy is restored. 

In other to ensure peace and security in The Gambia, I recommend the following to be put in place:

1 ) The Government of The Gambia establish legitimate crime-control strategy units and investigate and appropriately prosecute anyone involved in extrajudicial killings. 

2.) Ensure that police operations against those in violation of the drug laws are carried out in full accordance with international human rights standards, including the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials;

3.) Launch an immediate and impartial investigation into the circumstances behind the escalation in children deaths and high rate of traffic accidents. 

4.) Direct the the Gambia Armed Forces to cooperate fully with the police force to raid all criminal hideouts within the corners of The Gambia. 

5.) Instruct the Ministry of Justice office to undertake an investigation into the human rights abuses by any individuals on time and ensure that anyone found guilty of crime face the full force of the law.

6.) Direct the security forces to cooperate fully with the civilian population in the investigation of cases of human rights violations and to help in identifying criminals in the society.

By Bakary J Janneh

The author is a human rights activist 

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