Lawyer Ousainou Darboe leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) has called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Abdoulie Sanyang to immediately withdraw all Police Intervention Unit (PIU) officers stationed along all access roads to his compound.
The UDP Leader made this call to the IGP at a press conference on Thursday at his residence, where he was reacting to the rejection of Momodou Sabally nomination debacle at the IEC regional office at Brikama.
“I have a concern, virtually all the access routes to my house are manned by the Paramilitary stationed even at the back, you have the paramilitary stationed there. This is an act of provocation, we are law-abiding citizens and I want to appeal to the Inspector General of Police, please withdraw your men,” Darboe appealed to IGP.
He added: “Crowds will continue to come here into this house and this office, this is a political season and nobody will be allowed to disturb the UDP crowd coming here and whatever we do we are going to do it within the confines of the law. Please let us all help each other to keep the peace and tranquility of this country.”
Lawyer Darboe who was in high spirits during the entire press conference maintained that UDP supporters and militants are law-abiding citizens, arguing that UDP has always followed due processes of the law in seeking redress to its causes and has never been violent.
According to Darboe, throughout the 27 years of the United Democratic Party, it has always been law-abiding and the party will continue to maintain this, stressing that no one should make the police IGP believe he has enough men or tear-gas to tame UDP.
“Please let us all help each other keep the peace and tranquility of this country which is of interest to all of us. Do not believe that you have men who you have supplied with tear gas that they can really cow our determination, they cannot,” Darboe cautioned IGP Abdoulie Sanyang.
He added: “That should not happen, that situation should never arise, leave us, we are law-abiding citizens. We have always been peaceful for the past 27 years since the founding of the UDP.”.
He warned that as peaceful as UDP may be, it will not allow provocation from anybody including the police, adding that supporters and militants of UDP haven’t done anything wrong that warrants provocation from the police.
“We have not done anything that is wrong and in contravention of the laws of this country. You (IGP) cannot station your men along access roads to stop my supporters from coming here for various reasons by trying to intimidate them. That’s not acceptable,” the UDP Leader unequivocally stated.
He called on the IGP to immediately withdraw all PIU officers stationed around his compound and appealed to all peace and stability preachers to join him in his call on the Inspector General of Police to use his men in better circumstances than closing all access roads to his compound.
“We will never do anything that is in contravention with the Gambian law but we will never be stopped in the exercise of our legitimate political rights,” Lawyer Ousainou Darboe emphasized.
Lawyer Darboe also called the attention of the Gambia Human Rights Commission to caution the Inspector General of Police and his men to stop interfering with the political rights of UDP supporters, arguing to carrying out political activities without hindrance is a fundamental human right that must be respected.
“We have seen very ugly scenes on video of how a gentleman was brutalized by about five PIU officers, maltreating him, torturing him. They could have easily arrested him and put him in handcuffs, you don’t need to brutalize him and we have seen that clearly on film,” the UDP Leader affirmed, condemning the Police beating of a defenseless citizen after the rejection of Momodou Sabally’s nomination in Brikama.
“This kind of situation cannot continue and our people acted in a good sense because there were a lot of people around who could have exerted vengeance on the officers who brutalized their innocent colleague”. Lawyer Ousainou Darboe further added, saying “our people acted with the sense of responsibility that if police acted irresponsibly they as citizens of this country cannot act irresponsibly.”