Details continue to emerge on the whys and wherefores of the violent protest at Kanilai, the birthplace of ousted Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.
On December 1st last year Gambian voters voted out their country’s longtime dictator and replaced him with President Adama Barrow. But Yahya Jammeh’s supporters have since demonstrated in words and actions that they would not accept the change of leadership. These APRC supporters insulted, inflicted injury or poured hot water on their UDP opponents. In some instances they vandalised properties. The same APRC supporters last Friday reached the Tipping Point when they protested violently provoking ECOMIG peacekeepers resulting to discharge of fire arms. One of the protesters Haruna Jatta, 54, died while six others sustained injuries. They hauled insults, burnt tyres on the main road and threatened to deal with any fire fighter who for attempted to quench fires.
On surface the protesters wanted the peacekeepers to leave Kanilai, which according to them, should be treated like any normal Gambian village. Protesters see no reason why troops should be deployed at Kanilai when Jammeh is not around.
However, Kairo News investigation unravels the real motives of the protesters. The protest was a calculated attempt “to disrupt the execution of a court order to freeze Jammeh’s Kanilai assets.” It was an answer to exiled Jammeh’s demands that ECOMIG troops at Kanilai should be provoked to leave. “Jammeh is worried about the forfeiture of his assets, especially the ones in Kanilai where he seems to have hidden treasures,” a source told Kairo News. “Jammeh promised to kick out hunger in the whole of Foni if they (Fonikas) succeed in driving out ECOMIG out of Kanilai. Soon secret meetings were held in both Foni and Casamance villages. In one of the meetings at Dia Counda in Casamance, it was agreed to loot Jammeh’s Kanilaia stores containing food and arms and ammunition. While hungry Foni villagers will get food, the Casamance separatist rebels of MFDC will be given arms and ammunition.”
Kairo News sources said the organisers of the fatal protest had earlier sent message to the APRC supporters in Foni and the Greater Banjul Area that former President Yahya Jammeh would attend Friday prayers at Kanilai. “This message attracted unsuspecting youths to assemble at Kanilai where they an illegal protest had been schemed. For fear of reprisals, these disappointed youths could not turn their back on the protest when they were told about it,” our source said, blaming Yahya Jammeh of “sponsoring instability in the country. He wants to use Foni and Casamance people to fight his fight, which is all about getting back his forfeited assets. But you know most of his gullible supporters think Jammeh is God and will not hesitate to destroy themselves for his (Jammeh’s) sake. It is not correct that all Jolas support Jammeh’s sponsored chaos. I am a Jola who believes that change is inevitable and that no one – for whatever reasons – must be allowed to set Gambia on fire. All that is required of us is to adjust, heal the wounds and develop our country.”
Our sources also corroborated the involvement of Casamance residents in the protest. “Most of the video clips on the protest reveal the Casamance Jola dialect. The difference is that Gambian Jola dialect is loaded with Mandinka words.”