By Mustapha Jallow
A herdsman and native of Kanilai, Mr. Haruna Jatta, who was shot by the regional forces, during a Friday morning protest was finally laid to rest at the Kanilai cemetery on Tuesday, 6 June 2017, around 4:36pm.
A large crowd of sympathisers including village elders, APRC members, relatives, National Assembly members, councillors and friends from the Kombos were gathered to pay their condolences to Mr. Jatta’s family. Some youths were also seen calming down the situation and addressing some of the women who were uttering violent words, urging them to take the incident in good faith and allow the current government to investigate the death of Hanura.
It was an emotional day in Kanilai as people appeared in a somber mood, women were seen openly weeping and wailing, saying that they want nothing but peace in Kanilai. Villagers said that Haruna is a hardworking man who had served one of ex-president Jammeh’s farms for 22 years. Elders continued to advise the people of Foni and Kanilai to maintain peace and tranquility in the country.
In his short remarks, the interim party leader of the Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction (APRC), Fabakary Tombong Jatta said that the people of Foni should accept the change that President Jammeh is gone and someone else has come.
‘‘Let Kanilai or people in the Foni remain calm. APRC people in whole of Foni are not criminals and should be treated equally as citizens of this country. It is unfortunate that the late Jatta’s death was as a result of gunshot which is very painful and sad,’’ the APRC leader said.
Hon. Musa Amul Nyassi, National Assembly Member for Foni Kansala, told the people of Kanilai it is a painful moment for everyone and Haruna is gone but let them be united and have one voice for progress. He indicated that it is not true that the people of Foni have not accepted change.
Hon. Nyassi blamed the government for not protecting Mr. Jatta and that it’s clear that live bullets were used on him (Haruna) but he advised the people of Foni to remain calm and avoid violence.
‘‘Peace and tranquility should continue to reign in the country, if President Jammeh left peacefully who are we the people of Foni to go against it? So I challenge anybody who is saying that the people of Foni are not accepting the will of Allah which is the change of government. It is an unfounded allegation, we have accepted it and then we will stand by it. Governments will come and go. Before president Jammeh, it was President Kairaba Jawara, who ruled this country for 30 years and he left, President Jammeh ruled for 22 years and now it is President Barrow and his day will come to an end and somebody else will take over,’’ he said.
It could be recalled that Mr. Jatta was part of a group of Kanilai protesters on Friday 2 June, who was shot by the regional forces with live bullets and sustained an injury on his stomach. Suddenly he was rushed to Bwiam hospital but later referred to Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul, where he was admitted but on the following day (Saturday, 3 June) he was pronounced death.