Gambian police had earlier today offered to release the detained leader of the United Democratic Party and hold the rest of political detainees. Lawyer Ousainou Darboe promptly and unequivocally rejected the offer, calling it “immoral and repugnant.” Mr. Darboe insisted he would only go home provided all political detainees were released. Lawyer Darboe’s demand, shared by majority of Gambians, was one of the reasons there was a peaceful protest march on Saturday. All they want is the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. Gambians also want independent and thorough investigation into violence meted out on unarmed peaceful protesters by security forces.
Lawyer Darboe on Saturday addressed the press at his Pipeline home, expressing anger over the terror inflicted on peaceful opposition protesters who were arrested only to be brutally tortured, resulting to the death of Ebrima Solo Sandeng, the Organising Secretary of UDP. He also said two of his party’s executive officers – Fatoumata Jawara and Nokoi Njie – were in coma battling for survival. Mr. Darboe asked his party’s leadership to be in the front so they could take bullets for the liberation of a besieged population. Holding each others hands, the leadership had nothing in their hands except Gambian flags. They were chanting on the Kairaba Avenue Road “we want Solo dead or alive, free all political prisoners.”
A paranoid government soon deployed security forces to forcefully disperse the crowd, teargasing and arresting Mr. Darboe and many others.
Mr. Darboe described Mr. Sandeng as the Steve Biko of The Gambia because he died fughting for Gambians’ freedom. He said Sandeng’s death would arouse the consciousness of Gambian people. As a major opposition party, Mr. Darboe said the onus lies on the UDP to free a nation under tyrannical and impunity yoke.