KM with a population of approximately 400,000 is the second largest administrative area in The Gambia. Its concentration of young people makes it absolutely essential for the government to have a pro-poor policy in all its undertakings. A heavy-handed anti-crime policy in the midst of abject poverty would not be prudent.
Community oriented anti-crime policies that aim to promote self-employment, cooperative ventures to mitigate poverty would enable the youth to be responsive to civic education. It is therefore important that this incident which drove thousands of young people into the streets to vent their anger against police stations and security personnel will serve as a lesson to hasten security sector reform and change mindset so that deaths from stabbing or alleged torture would be a thing of the past.
The arson attack and looting of the home of the head of the anti-crime unit, the burning and destruction of police stations at Bakoteh, etc. within the vicinity of KM is a stark reminder that the population and the law enforcers would both be at risk if hostility continues to grow. Dialogue and consultation are necessary on the way forward.