Gambia: Bafuloto-Farato incident: Interior Minister says citizens misreading democracy, breaking law


The Interior Minister has said there is challenge for citizens to be law abiding at all times saying citizens are now reading and misreading democracy and breaking the law all in the name of democracy.


By Alhagie Jobe

According to Minister Mai Ahmed Fatty, Gambia is a nation of laws and the laws must be enforced for greater peace and security and there will be no apologizing for this.

Addressing elders of Bafuloto and Farato at a meeting in Banjul on Friday following the land dispute which caused riots in the area.

Last Tuesday, a group of individuals resident in Bafuloto in the West Coast Region launched attacks on law enforcement officials and officials of the Department of Physical Planning as they attempted to pull down illegal structures in that village and its environs.

Minister Fatty admitted that the new Gambia has always been about enthronement of real democracy. Yet, he said Farato represents a realistic portrayal of the challenges faced as a nation in terms of educating the people on what democracy is all about.

He said this fresh and zestful leadership is prepared and ready to wage a war on indiscipline and lawlessness.

“We will not condone acts that seek to truncate the existing sanity, safety, peace and orderliness being enjoyed in our communities and streets. The police and other law enforcement agencies will not relent or relax in performing their statutory responsibilities in maintaining law and order” he said.

He said the police are still gathering the facts saying what is known at this particular time is that officials of the Department of Physical Planning were acting on a court decision attempted to remove illegal structures. He said the occupants were long and duly served with removal and quit notices.

“No sooner had the team started the demolition exercise than the angry villagers descended on them. The demolition team had to flee the area. They were chased up to Farato, on the Serrekunda-Brikama highway. This resulted to injuries and a privately owned car and a caterpillar were allegedly burned down by the villagers. The melee played out in broad daylight and ricocheted across the media. The situation is now under control” he said.

Minister Fatty described the act as mindless violence meted out to law enforcement officials. He wouldn’t speculate on what will happen next but insisted that the melee is most abhorrent – and those who break the law must be dealt with decisively.

“They must be made to understand that such acts are unacceptable. That you cannot attack law enforcement officials for simply doing their job” he noted.

As Minister of the Interior, he said he has no greater responsibility than the security of Gambians and in the effort to maintain a sustainable peace and security, the government will not renege on its responsibilities.

“There will be a zero tolerance for indiscipline. Law is the arbiter of our conducts as a people and so we must abide by law if we are to progress as a nation” he said, concluding that his doors will always remain open for constructive criticism and advice towards maintenance of peace and security in the country.