Ever since the National Assembly of The Gambia in year 2000 indemnified the security forces, especially those who took part in the massacre of their own Gambian brothers (armless students) on April 10 and 11through the Indemnity Act, Gambians became so fearful of you, the people they pay to maintain through their taxes. Today, we are paying the prize of the Indemnity Act by which the loose security forces can at any time, whether under the command of Yaya Jammeh or not, are always terrorizing the civilian population.
It is with great sadness that exactly 16 years since the massacre of 14 students, you again turned your AK-47 gun butts and bullets against the very people you swore to protect. It is only in Gambia where security forces beat their chests to quell peaceful protest for a dictator who cares only himself despite your low salary. In November 1996 and July 1997 respectively, some four ex-Gambian military officers and civilians attacked Farafenni and Kartong military post/barracks, broke into your armories, took guns without any resistance from you (soldiers). In fact, you all had to flee leaving the lives of the civilians at the mercy of these attackers. The only people you show your bravado to are the same civilians.
Please, take a deep thought to understand that civilians are no enemies to you, but the common enemy is dictator Yaya Jammeh. We civilians are armless and defenseless since 1994 and we are double suffering (from Yaya Jammeh and you the security forces) which does not seem to end.
We live in a very fearful country, a well policed state by NIA, the army and the sycophant civilian population who won’t hesitate to report you for any comment that they consider anti-Yahya Jammeh. Those of us in Gambia and abroad, we have a moral responsibility to admonish our indoctrinated security forces who lack sympathy and the broad mind to inject some sense of responsibility and patriotism into their small skulls to understand that we are all one, and that presidents come and go, but our relationships are there to stay. They must also be told to always screen good from bad orders they would get from Yahya Jammeh. They must remember that Yaya will go sooner or later and cannot defend them in the post-Jammeh Truth and Reconciliation/ courts we would establish to account them of their atrocities against Gambians. There will be justice, certainly, a justice without a revenge!
I always ask myself why Gambians are so oblivious, especially our security forces when they get promoted with tinted glass vehicles, thus get easily “intoxicated”. Those in uniforms do not think about their predecessors like Kawsu Camara (Bombardier); the late Musa Jammeh; Tumbul Tamba; Captain/ Major Saikou Jallow (now in exile) who was so much feared in the Barra/ Essau area during the witch-hunting exercise and Sheriff Gisseh (who was so rude and violent during the Farafenni football tournaments/nawettans), etc. These were feared people, but today, some of them are gone eternally, while others are in exile.
Due to perhaps sheer ignorance of international current events of regime change within the sub-region that our security forces are unaware of, probably explain their total disregard for the rule of law and respect for citizens’ rights to protest and their current behaviors toward them. These changes were as a result of civil disobedience in Burkina Faso where the army eventually came to their senses to understand that killing their citizens only for Blaise Compaore won’t solve the problem. In 2000, when Gen. Robert Gui stole elections from Lauren Gbagbo, the citizens took to the streets and the soldiers could be seen on TV waving at civilians to join them. This is exactly what we expect from our Gambian security forces. There were many missed opportunities you could have brought sanity to our demise democracy and we would hail you heroes.
Maybe, their lack of war experience where they would translate their training into practice has never been available to them, so that they can kill as they see in movies. There are trouble spots in the world- Afghanistan, South Sudan, Uganda (LRA), etc where we can send you to go quell those wars because you people are trigger-happy and wants to kill.
On a final note, I would like to remind you that in Niger, in 2009, when the ex-president Mamadou Tanja altered the constitution to extend his term, it was the Niger Military that toppled him, organized elections and a new leader emerged. In Guinea, when the military leader, Moussa Dadis Camara started killing Guineans, his own bodyguard pumped bullets into his brain. Although he survived, but it taught him a lesson that he did not own Guinea and Guineans.
Why in Gambia, you the security forces can’t do the same thing, but instead behaving the contrary? Yahya Jammeh is nothing, but a mere human being with all human characteristics.
Let justice guide our nation and may Allah change your deadly minds and broaden your minds to start loving your civilians. May Allah guide us all through 2016 and subsequent years to come and protect and bless Gambia. Amen!
Chinua Achebe’s poem, Vultures, was the topic in my English class today and at line 30 it goes like this:
“Thus the Commandant at Belsen Camp going home for the day
With fumes of human roast clinging rebelliously to his hairy nostrils
Will stop at the wayside sweet-shop and pick up a chocolate for his tender off-spring
Waiting at home for Daddy’s return …”
I wonder, do Momodou Sabally and Sheriff Bojang consider that Solo Sandeng’s kids may be “waiting at home for Daddy’s return” – just as Momodou’s were waiting when he was jailed?