By Awa B. Bah
On Friday 23 June 2017, the Imam and the kabilo Head of Bafuloto Medina Nemasu were arrested and taken to Brusubi police station, after they were called to report at the Brikama Police station for a discussion. Alhagie Ceesay, Imam, kabilo Head Alhagie Jobe, Dulo Sanneh and Kebba Drammeh, were called to report to the Brikama police station for a discussion but Alhagie Ceesay, Imam, and kabilo Head Alhagie Jobe were arrested, whilst Dulo Sanneh and Kebba Drammeh were away and unable to come to the station. Upon arrival at the brusubi police station, this reporter met with the people of Bafuloto Medina Nemasu who were waiting for their lawyer, Jainaba Bah Sambou, in order to apply for bail. The lawyer, after speaking to the police officer at the station, was referred to the Brikama Police station. At Brikama police station, the lawyer was again told to see the police commissioner, from there, to the CMC, where she was told that her clients will not be able to get bail, because the IGP was not available. It was around seven O clock when the CID called the relatives of the arrested people to tell them that they could come and bail the detainees, each with a surety. Finally both the Imam and the Kabilo head with the seven others that were arrested during the recent protest at Farato were all bailed each with a Gambian surety. They were told to report to the Brusubi police station on Tuesday, 28TH June 2017.
According to Bakary Sabally a resident of Bafuloto Medina Nemasu, the detainees were arrested and taken to the Brikama Magistrate court twice and the police changed the charges and the case was transferred to the high court.
“Our people have been in detention until yesterday, when we went to seek for their bail, because they have not been to court for thirty four days. We were told that the case file is with the police and they referred us to the Inspector General of Police but to no avail, because that day was the day when the IGP was changed,” said Sabally.
He said they decided to go the following day (Friday) and were told that they got the files but something was missing in them which they are working on and after they will go to the Brusubi Police Station to give them bail.
According to him, it was around two PM when the police called the Brikama CID office and the officer asked whether they got a vehicle to take them to Brusubi police station, which was provided.
He said on their way to Brusubi Police station, the CID officer told them that they are no more going to Brusubi, but instead to Brikama, adding that on their way to Brikama, the CID officer asked about the whereabouts of the Iman and the Kabilo head with two other people.
The CID officer, he said, asked them to call them to come to Brikama so that they would discusd the matter which they did.
At Brikama, he said they were asked to wait for them outside while they went in with the police and the CID officer together with the Iman and kabilo Head until 6.00pm, when they saw the four “Farato boys” going into the office.
He said they asked the police what the matter was that they were discussing, but to their surprise, he said they were told that the farato boys said when the Bafuloto Medima Nemasu people were burning down the grader, the imam and the kabilo head with two other people at large, were ‘behind’ them, and they are to go to Brusubi police station to find out whether they are part of the list.
He said they were asked to stay and wait for them at Brikama Police station while they drove with the Imam and the Kabilo head to Brusubi Police station.
‘‘After breaking our fast in the late evening, we called the Kabilo head who informed us that they have been arrested, because one Alieu Bah, a member of the “Farato boys” told the police that we were part of the problem,’’ he said.
He called for the concerned authorities to be on the right part and see them as Gambians. ‘‘We have all the evidence to prove that we owned our compounds and we have been living there for more than two decades. They have demolished some of our properties, and others are targeted, because it was announced on television that if we did not vacate, they will come back to carry out more demolition of compounds in our settlement,’’ he concluded. The detained persons who have been released were Bakary Manneh, Ma Alieu Faal, Alieu Faal, Alieu Touray, Lamin Demba, Ebrima Seck and Sainey Bayo. Imam Ceesay and Alagie Jobe who were later arrested, were also eventually released with them.