The picture above is one classic case of many unreported Gambian security brutalities. It is the story of one Daffeh Darboe, a native of Bureng in Eastern Jarra. This man has not committed any crime to justify this type of brutality meted out on him in April during the opposition protest. Daffeh’s nonparticipation of the protest in Pipeline and Kanifing should have spared him the Police Intervention Unit officers merciless beating. That was not the case in a country where Jungle Justice is the order of the day. Daffeh’s only crime — if there had been any at all — was to bear Lawyer Ousainou Darboe’s (jailed leader of the United Democratic Party) last name. The young man was walking when the brutal PIU officers stopped him. They started raining blows and batons on Daffeh as soon as they knew his last name as if bearing the same last name of Ousainou is a crime.
How would you blame the PIU officers when President Yahya Jammeh had continuously fanned hatred against Mandinkas, singling them out for termination? This is the Gambia Yahya Jammeh has created; a country where the content of your characer matters not but your membership of an ethnic group. How many Gambians have found themselves in the shoes of Daffeh Darboe, a law-abiding Gambian with clean record?
Many have disappeared or murdered in cold-blood without their families knowing why. Whether we like it or not, but the post-Jammeh era will be too tough to manage. Most people, including security officers think the downfall of Yahya Jammeh will lick so many old wounds. “You can see and hear signs of revenge among security officers,” one serving security officer said. “I hope and pray that we forgive and forget after the monster is gone.”
What pains most people is that no one is being punished for their heinous crimes. Such situations leave families to bear the brunt of despair, loneliness and daily survival challenges. Like many victims, Daffeh too was left with shouldering his medical bills. Neither his beaters nor their bosses careless about the resulting effects of torture. Why would they when they are above the law?