Gambian ruler Yahya Jammeh has once again manifested his strongman actions and defiance by angrily reacting against demands by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the NGO Amnesty International to open an investigation into the death in April of opposition member SoloSandeng.President Jammeh said both the UN chief Ban ki-moon and NGO Amnesty International can go to hell saying ‘it’s very common for people to die in detention,' he told the weekly Jeune Afrique Magazine during an interview.

"Ban Ki-moon and Amnesty International can go to hell! Who are they to demand it? What is the problem? It is very common for people to die in detention or during interrogation. No one will tell me what to do in my country" Jammeh said in defiance.

UN, Amnesty condemned Jammeh regime’s heavy-handed response to peaceful protests

Solo Sandeng, a member of the opposition United Democratic Party was arrested on April 14 during a peaceful protest demanding justice and electoral reforms. He and dozen other members were arrested and taken to the National Intelligent Agency headquarters in the capital, Banjul, where he was allegedly tortured to dead in state custody.Sandeng’s death which prompted daily protests in the country, led to the subsequent arrest of the party leader Ousainou Darboe and executive members on April 16th as they were protesting in demand for release of Mr.

Sandeng, dead or alive.

Presidential term limits rejected

Jammeh, who has ruled The Gambia with an iron fist for more than two decades, is known for his harsh statements especially against western powers. He said he is proud to be called ‘dictator’ but his people know he is a dictator of development. He said he is not those African leaders who the West will control and continue to take commands and saying yes sir, yes sir!.

In April, The Gambia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Samsudeen Sarr was heard in a leak audio recording calling for the shooting of protesters saying they are being backed by Western powers to destablize the country.

Jammeh renewed his earlier comments of ruling the Gambia for one billion years if God says so. He said he will be president as long as God and the Gambian people want him to be, rejecting any possibility of term limit in The Gambia.

He tried to defend his comments with the developments his government registered over the years saying when he was taking office in 1994, the country was one of the poorest in the world and today, it’s no longer.

On May 19th, 2015, at a regional summit in Accra, The Gambia supported by Togo opposed a proposal by the sub-regional bloc, ECOWAS, to impose a region-wide limit to the number of presidential terms to two. The proposal which was on the agenda for the Heads of State and Governments to decide was finally not adopted.

Election year

The Gambia is this year heading for another election in December but already marred by violence.

The opposition are calling for electoral reforms and continue to stage daily protest in the country while Jammeh described them as being ‘backed by the West’ to destabilize The Gambia.

Jammeh came to power by a coup in 1994 followed by an election in 1996 and re-elected every five years since then. The government of Mr Jammeh has since been accused of showing little or no respect for the fundamental human rights of Gambian citizens. Arbitrary arrests and detentions have increased, security forces continue to harass and mistreat detainees, prisoners, opposition members, journalists, and civilians with impunity.

Prisoners are reportedly held incommunicado, face prolonged pre-trial detention, and are denied due process. The government has infringed on privacy rights and restricted freedom of speech and the press with disappearances and mysterious killings as well.

Follow the page Foreign Affairs
Don't miss our page on Facebook!