By Ousainou J. Sawaneh
Madi Jobarteh a human right activist and defender said the Minister of Interior and the Inspector General of Police must be held accountable for the Kanilai shooting.
Jobarteh release the statement on his facebook page yesterday afternoon demanding that the Minister of Interior, the Inspector General of Police and the responsible officers at Kanilai checkpoint to resign or be sacked for the shooting of Ismaila Tamba.
Ismaila Tamba was shot on Sunday evening 19th May, 2019 at the Kanilai checkpoint in the Foni Kansala Constituency, West coast region.
Meanwhile, this is the second shooting incident involving a native of Kanilai since 2017. The first victim Haruna Jatta was shot by soldiers believed to be with the ECOMIG forces and he died.
“At the outset I demand that the Minister of Interior, the Inspector General of Police and the responsible officers at Kanilai checkpoint to resign or be sacked for the shooting of Ismaila Tamba”.
Madi added that the act of shooting an unarmed citizen demonstrates an utter lack of professionalism and efficiency and gross violation of the right to life of a citizen that should not have come from a security officer, “Mr. Tamba was not armed hence did not attempt to shoot the officer which means the officer’s reaction was unnecessary use of excessive force” he said.
“Much as Tamba must be held accountable for not complying with security officers at a checkpoint, it is still not a reason to shoot him when the officer could have avoided being run over by Tamba’s vehicle”.
Jobarteh pointed out that said if indeed Tamba was notorious for flouting the checkpoint the officers should have taken legal action against him well before now and not to allow it to become a pattern, adding that having allowed him to continuously flout the checkpoint it is unacceptable that they would address this matter in such a violent way, he said
He said that the shooting of Tamba exposes once more the urgent need for security sector reforms which has not been carried out by this Government with the seriousness it deserves.
He indicated that this country would still have police and military checkpoints littered all over is an indication that the same dictatorial approaches to national security prevails. “It is an approach that devalues human lives in favour of state security. It further manifests the perception that security is all about force and violence as if that is all that is there to contain crime and maintain peace. There cannot be a more faulty thinking than that!”
“This incident therefore brings to mind a similar scenario in 2015 when a taxi driver was pursued by security forces at a checkpoint in Manjai who also fired at the vehicle leading to the killing of a young beautiful soul, the Late Ya Binta Jarju. With this latest incident in Kanilai when Tamba was also said to have refused to stop leading to firing, it begs the question indeed as to the purpose of checkpoints in the first place. In other words, are checkpoints necessary and what should be their nature of operations”.
Madi reiterated that it is only under dictatorships that checkpoints became permanent feature of the security system, adding that dictators all over the world mount permanent and uncountable checkpoints as a means to intimidate the population and to protect their regime.
“This is why under the APRC Regime, the Despot Yaya Jammeh brought the culture of checkpoints all over this country. His intention was never to promote and protect citizen rights and freedom or ensure security. We all know that checkpoints had never improved the security of Gambians under his regime, rather what we saw was how Gambians disappeared, or got arrested, tortured and killed all the time while drugs littered the entire country despite the proliferation of checkpoints” he said
He further said the coming of the new Government was our expectation that we would have seen system change by reforming the security sector so that they become instruments for the expansion, protection and enjoyment of rights and freedoms by citizens. “It is rather unfortunate that President Adama Barrow rather decides to continue the same approach as his predecessor which is why we saw our security forces shoot to death Gambians at Faraba in June 2018 and now the shooting of Ismaila Tamba” he said
For how long shall our security forces continue to shoot our unarmed citizens? he asked.
He lamented that the security of this country like any other civilized and democratic society cannot be ensured by checkpoints. Rather we need more investment in law enforcement to provide
better policing methods. This means addressing the welfare of police officers, improve their working conditions by equipping them with modern tools such as scanners and other crime detection tools as well as training them more in intelligence gathering and analyses.
“The shooting of Ismaila Tamba could have been therefore avoided if our security officers were better trained, equipped and oriented towards modern law enforcement methods and human rights. Why this is not the case until now is a question we should pose to the Office of the President”. he conclude
By Ousainou J. Sawaneh