The state of insecurity in the Gambia is very grave. Very dire and frightful. Our citizens are not safe. Both the people and the government know this, and we are losing live and properties. We are losing our humanity. 

Why do partisans engage in deliberate falsehood in the face of emerging factual clarifications? Whom do we believe now? Are our journalists in the print and electronic media or the veritable “newscasters” on Facebook and other social media?

Security and safety-wise, we are in a real but undeclared state of emergency! Several events in the country have left many wondering about the place of morality and security in the Gambia. 

Lives are increasingly becoming cheap, as several occurrences are making many to ponder. People killed with impunity, and there appears not to be justice for the oppressed across the country, ritualists and bloodthirsty animals are having a field day. 

It is now so bad that there is no day that the reports about criminal activities do not make the headlines. Yes, there are crimes everywhere across all continents, but the Gambia’s colour of crimes seems too choking and bizarre. 

The crime rate is gradually becoming a trend that all hands have to be together to check it. It is like there is a demon roving around seeking blood. Men and women of conscience appear helpless. Everyone has suddenly become interested in ‘money and material things at all costs’ syndrome. 

In the Gambia, it seems no one bothers to know what one does because all that matters is money and ostentation. The craze for money is also traceable to several criminal activities in the country. 

Some of the proponents of ‘show-off’ are all over social media. They have no known source of income but terrorise society with state-of-the-art cars and imposing edifices. A hustler with legitimate means is thus derided as lazy and provoked and insulted contemptuously. 

The problem is that life has become so cheap in the Gambia that many persons take laws into their own hands. The details of criminal activities, as narrated in several reports based on police disclosure, were gory. An eavesdropper cannot fathom what could make the man embark on such a callous act.  However, one thing is sure: Nothing can justify such a wicked act. 

According to media reports, “Police Commander Gourgi Mboob has said in his interview on social media that since the Anti-Crime Unit (ACU) was created two (2) years ago, he has prosecuted 287 people. These are people suspected to be engaged in criminal activities around the country. 

Another special task force of the police Anti-Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force Operation Bulldozer operationalised since May 2012, under the Command of by then-Deputy Commissioner Landing Bojang, now AIG responsible for Operations at the Gambia Police Force disclosed that almost 285 of bandits and criminals Gambian and non Gambians were arrested within three (3) months (May-July 2012).

According to  Operation Bulldozer Commander Landing Bojang told the Daily Observer in an interview in 2012, that out of the 285 people arrested, 17 cases were registered in court, and 79 were pending. 

Despite these efforts to wipe out criminality in the country, thorough investigations need to be conducted to avoid violating the rights of the individuals”, according to reports.

The above are brief examples of the unpalatable security breakdown in our country. Moreover, the recent decision to place Deputy Commissioner Gourgi Mboob on administrative leave following accusations of rights violation is long overdue.  

Let the authorities to expand the investigation into Gourgi Mboob’s activities and the entire Anti-Crime Unit’s operations. Commander Gorgui  Mboob should not be mob lynched on social media or persecuted. 

Commander Mboob must only be made to face the law if he has committed any offence known to law. However, Anyway, this is the Gambia.

I consulted Kaye Whiteman, former editor of West Africa Magazine of The Gambia: ‘A Cultural and Historical Companion March 1993.’ He said The Gambia  is much more than an abode of “con-men and chaos.” It takes more than staying on the Island to understand the Mainland and its wisdom. 

Then I  referred myself to what editor David Summers wrote in the editorial page of 6 August 1993 edition of The Daily Observer: It reads:  “The inner life of The Gambia is a dark and oftentimes incomprehensible mystery.” That is the knowledge the foreign editor had, which, sadly, eluded those calling for the dissolution of the Anti-Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force and lynching of Gorgui Mboob on social media without due process.

Since the so-called activists’ territorial brag mirrors Johanne Miller’s “gang culture in the theatre of the streets,” I think it was inappropriate to pair to the Gambia with Mushin’s mental state.  A proper Banjul boy would not do that. 

In real bare-knuckle contestation for the streets of politics and power, coast to coast, Gourgi Mboob adopted Island has no chance. Does Gorgui even know what it means to have a solid reputation in merchandised disorder? 

Mushin holds that title. Gorgui smells like the hunter who thinks the monkey is silly; Mushin’s monkey is wise, only that it has its logic of existence; this is the time for statesmanship and statecraft. 

Prevarication, specious legal opposition to a criminal insurgency, social banditry, organized crime and drug cartels” exigency, highfalutin equivocation on crime and criminal justice issue, the politicization of the debate, ethnic chest-beating, and high-sounding doublespeak would achieve nothing. 

In any case, maybe I am even wrong about who drives this vehicle. I told my friend that he should not bother me further about Gorgui Mboob and his troubles. 

I asked if he ever heard about a unique people called marabouts. He said yes, he heard about them. They are intermediaries with the supernatural, the witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, so, as we watch the Gorgui. 

Mboob alleged money extortion and torture drama, waiting for the denouement, let us remember that what we have is a helpless system of marabouts, without earthly Command and control. 

Remember that what rules you is a regime of loans and debts that ‘builds hope on foundations of confusion (and) misery.’ 

Remember to keep your seat belts fastened because we are either on the very edge of a cliff or at the threshold of a seismic deliverance.

Our terrified citizens are now adapting to the insecurity pandemic. Many of our people are ensconced in our cities. Shunning travels to their ancestral villages and towns during festivities, celebrations, and family and community events, even when such travels are warranted. 

Many elites, middle class, and semi-middle class citizens abandon road travels, even when doing so may not be that affordable, and are increasingly resorting instead to fear and insecurity. 

Moreover, if they must use our rife crime roads of armed robbers, they either hire private security escorts to provide security for them in order to safely reach their destinations, which are inaccessible by loose bandits on the prowl -transportation; or upon their arrivals at a destination that is proximate to their hinterland destinations, they mingle with the locales, board the usual rickety commercial buses or cars plying the rural routes in order to conceal their personalities and moneyed identities, and journey to their destinations without entertaining the fear of abduction by bandits. 

This identity concealment strategy is not “kidnap-proof,” however. On many occasions, armed bandits were known to have stopped these rickety vehicles on the roads to carry out “ eminent person identification, “examining exterior indicators of material comforts to tear down the deceptive cloak of ordinariness, and fish out their money yielding victims. 

This exercise is cruel but reminiscent of the slave trade era, in which slavers and slave merchants looked out for sturdy young men and women, and used their hands to feel their muscular build before selecting them for procurement!

Given the insecurity situation in our country, we need a total remaking of our policing and security system. Anyone insisting on eliminating the Anti-Crime Unit of the Gambia Force of the existing under an anachronistic police force in the face of its glaring inability to deal with the security and safety needs of Gambians, at this time, is a murderer. 

Elimination of the Anti Crime Unit of the Gambia police is like the Gambia is contradictory in terms.

In the United States of America, where we copied our presidential system of government from, apart from the FBI, every state has its police service. Within each state, every county has its police establishment. 

Furthermore, many cities, institutions, and organisations, including tertiary education institutions, have their police organisations.

What the Anti-Crime Unit has achieved in the last four years, therefore, is to expose the poverty of the Gambian governance structure. 

Instead of allowing the sprouting and flourishing of crimes and breaking of the law. Do we want here, armed vigilante services there, a civilian security services up there, and a citizen policing down here (by defaults), what is required is an urgent reform and professionalize of policing in the Gambia to real community policing, such that we have a professional and trained police service, police formations, established based on a uniform model and backed by uniform legislation to be enacted by the National Assembly police formations.

The nonsense that we establish for the country toothless intelligence-gathering  State Intelligence Service”, to aid the existing police force, should be jettisoned. 

What we need are well trained, equipped and armed police services at the states and local government areas levels to saturate the Gambia to immediately bring down the unacceptably high level of banditry and criminality that are choking Gambians to death right now. 

Unarmed Intelligence gatherers cannot mow down armed robbers and bandits wielding lethal weapons running the kidnap and homicide industry in The Gambia. The time to act is now. We delay at our peril.

By Alagi Yorro Jallow

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