Nelson Manneh, Mustapha Jallow
Foroyaa has received reports of clashes between APRC and UDP supporters in Sibanor, Brikama and Lamin on Friday and Saturday.
The APRC supporters in Sibanor allege that UDP supporters obstructed them when they were celebrating the victory of their candidate whilst the UDP supporters said the contrary. This reporter visited 15 compounds which were largely affected by damages caused by the political incident and could observe that roofs of some buildings were destroyed, compound gates, house doors, windows, cooking utensils, sets of chairs, printing material, satellite receivers, laptops, 3 mobile phones and television sets.
The incident is said to have happened on Friday 7 April, 2017 which is a day after the National Assembly elections were declared in favour of APRC for the Constituency.
Speaking to Foroyaa, Momodou Camara of APRC who is the elected member for the Constituency, said after President Barrow was elected, Coalition supporters went out in the streets jubilating for the victory over the APRC shouting and chanting but all the APRC supporters remained at home and everything went off peacefully. According to the NAM the UDP supporters threw stones at them whilst they were celebrating and he had to proceed to the police to report the matter and they were given escorts, but stones were still thrown at them. This resulted to the injury of five of his supporters who were treated at Sibanor Hospital and later released.
“The saddest part of the incident is that the police arrested about 30 APRC youths including females and those less than 18 years and have not arrested any UDP supporters,” he decried. He further said they have never started the incident but they defended themselves from provocation.
He further said that they were yet to be told where the detainees are kept and have not had access to them. He provided the names of the arrestees and the villages they come from. He called Foroyaa on Sunday to say that four more were arrested on Sunday.
The narrative of the police is different. According to the police spokesperson, Inspector Foday Conta, 26 people were arrested. among them were 3 women, two Prison Officers, One infantry Soldier from Fajara Barracks and two UDP supporters.
The police spokesperson explained that on Friday, 7th April 2017, a group of APRC supporters in Sibanor and the satellite villages converged at the compound of Momodou Camara the APRC candidate in Sibanor, Foni Bintang so as to celebrate their victory in the just concluded April 6th Polls. During the celebration, he said it is reported that jubilant fans of APRC in their numbers attacked others by chanting abusive and foul languages towards the opponents and proceeded on throwing stones in the compounds believed to belong to UDP supporters.
‘‘This situation provoked violence and efforts were made by the police Chief of Operation, CP Landing Bojang and Sibanor Police officers to stop the violence but remain futile. This later prompted the police command in the region to send in the Police Intervention Unit for re-enforcement,’’ he disclosed.
In the process, 26 people were arrested among them were 3 women, two Prison Officers, One infantry Soldier from Fajara Barracks and two UDP supporters,’’ he disclosed.
PRO Conta further added that two UDP supporters sustained injuries as a result of the stoning and they were escorted to the health center by the police, where they received treatment and were discharged on the same day.
‘‘24 APRC supporters were charged with 3 counts: Assault Causing Actual Bodily Harm, Prohibition of Conduct Conducive to the Breach of the Peace contrary to Section 9 of the Public Order Act and Willful Damage to Property as for 2 UDP supporters, they are also charged but with 2 Counts: Criminal Trespass and Prohibition of Conduct Conducive to the Breach of the Peace Contrary to Section 9 of the Public Order Act,’’ he revealed.
However, he said that ‘for security reasons’, the suspects were transported to the PIU Headquarters in Kanifing to continue their detention while police investigators will continue investigation into the matter.
When asked whether they have been granted access, the police PRO stated that they have been granted access to their families but this is contrary to what the MP said.