The Gambia’s Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Samsudeen Sarr has indicted diaspora dissenters, some of whom he accused of being “proven co-conspirators” of a late winter 2014 attempt to oust President Jammeh through a military expedition.
Ambassador Sarr counters UN Chief's claims
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has called the protest peaceful and has demanded those responsible for killing at least three of the protesters to be brought to justice after an independent investigation occurs. But Ambassador Sarr said that the protests were violent, and a failed attempt to overthrow President Yahya Jammeh.
“They were convinced that hiring ruffians to trigger mass civil disobedience under the facade of staging a peaceful political demonstration for electoral reform will this time mobilize the ‘angry Gambians’ to set the nation ablaze and force the APRC #Government to step down by force,” Sarr said.
Sarr was part of dissidents who were against President Jammeh’s rule and he wrote a book chronicling The Gambian leader as despot, corrupt, and a murderous dictator. He was pardoned by Mr Jammeh after publicly apologizing to him and “admitting everything contained in the book coup d’état by The Gambia National Army was a lie.” Sarr was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Gambian military before falling out of favor with President Yahya Jammeh.
Police fired shots, tear gas at protesters
Solo Sandeng, the leader of the peaceful protesters demanding electoral reform was reportedly tortured to death. The protest led by opposition leader Ousainou Darboe was met by gunshots and tear gas thrown at him and some 150 of his supporters. Riot police officers from the paramilitary unit were caught on amateur videos beating senior citizens with their batons and rifles and kicking many.
The protesters have been charged with unlawful assembly, riot and incitement of violence, riotously interfering with traffic, holding a procession without a license, and disobeying an order to disperse from an unlawful procession even though peaceful demonstrations are guaranteed under the country’s constitution.