In the wake of a recent press conference convened by National Assembly Members mainly from Foni constituencies on the 2nd of November 2022, The Gambia Government wishes to clarify serious unfounded allegations raised by the representatives.
Among a litany of complaints, the Honorable members raised concerns over the presence of ECOMIG forces in Foni, investigations into the deaths of certain individuals particularly, the death of one Yankuba Badjie, the unsubstantiated allegations of unfair termination and dismissal of Foni “citizens” from key civil and public service positions as well as targeting of people from Foni by the various Commissions of Inquiry.
The Gambia Government takes these statements seriously and wishes to restate for the benefit of the five National Assembly Members and the public that the security and territorial integrity of the country are paramount.
The presence of the ECOMIG forces across the country, the Foni Region inclusive, is necessitated by genuine security concerns exacerbated by a porous southern border. The ECOMIG have been instrumental in maintaining peace and security as The Gambia navigates its very sensitive transition.
The Government takes allegations of loss of all human life very seriously and is committed to carrying out all necessary investigations to ascertaining the circumstances.
With regard to the reports of the shooting of Yankuba Badjie, investigations have confirmed that Mr. Badjie died across the border in the Casamance Region of Senegal. The late Mr. Badjie was non-Gambian, registered refugee with UNHCR and had resided at Gifanga village. Meanwhile, the Gambian authorities are closely working with their Senegalese counterparts regarding this case.
The Gambia government registers its total disappointment with the false allegations of unfair targeting of people from the Foni Region by the various Commissions of Inquiry as well as the unfair termination or dismissal of public officials and civil servants.
The Janneh Commission and the TRRC were transparent and impartial public inquiries which led to the uncovering of massive misappropriation of public funds as well as gross human rights violations perpetrated between July 22nd 1994 to December, 2017.
The unprecedented findings of these Commissions and the lists of individuals found wanting clearly contradict the false narrative advanced by the press conference.
As a country, The Gambia remains a very strong and united entity where no tribe, community or region takes precedence over the other. We remain committed to listening to and effectively addressing all genuine concerns raised that affect the welfare and prosperity of the citizenry.
That notwithstanding, Government cautions that it will not hesitate to take all available lawful action against any individual or group of individuals with sympathies towards the principal perpetrators of gross human rights violations and atrocities committed in The Gambia.
In a related development, The Gambia Government can confirm that three deaths happened in Foni last night. The victims are Demba Colley, age, 23, Alagie Kolley, age, 23 and Ebrima Colley, age, 20. Preliminary investigations revealed that all the deceased were non Gambians but had registered with the UNHCR, Banjul Office as refugees in The Gambia.
A fourth victim, Sulayman Kolley was injured and is currently being hospitalized at a health facility. The Gambia Government wishes to clarify that all three men died in the Senegalese Region of Cassamance and not within Gambian territory as is being erroneously alleged.
Citizens and residents of The Gambia are advised to desist from spreading false information that can potentially undermine national security.