By Abdoulie John
The leader of Yahya Jammeh’s defeated Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction leader (APRC) remains defiant about holding the party’s planned 50,000-man political rally later in October.
“The issue of the political rally was not even discussed,” Fabakary Tombong Jatta told reporters shortly after the police questioned him.
Gambia opposition leader Fabakary Tombong Jatta has been let go after a three-hour questioning by police investigations. The APRC leader was summoned on Tuesday to appear before the Crime Intelligence Unit at the police headquarters in Banjul.
“I was invited to the police to clarify certain concerns they have over a statement I made,” Mr. Jatta, who could not come to terms with his party’s electoral defeat in both presidential and parliamentary elections, told reporters shortly after stepping out of the police building.
The APRC leader’s encounter with the police comes on the heels of a planned 50,000 – man political rally scheduled for October 28, 2017. The police action was also prompted by a controversial statement the former National Assembly Majority Leader’s had purportedly made. Mr. Jatta was reported to have called for the release of some security officers still being detained by the police. He was also accused of fueling tribal hatred in a small but diverse nation where ethnic groups have co-existed since time immemorial.
But the former Serekunda East deputy said his encounter with police was not a big deal. It took the form of discussion. He said they discussed everything. In that they agree to disagree on certain issues. “Thank God it went well,” he said.
Jatta further stated that he raised concerns over the prolonged detention without trial of some military personnel, and added that the police may have suspected that this could cause chaos or instability.
“They called it a new political dispensation, and what affects me should affect another person. They have to be taken to court or be released,” he said.
APRC Spokesperson Seedy Njie, who also spoke to reporters, described the utterance made by Fabakary Tombong Jatta as a mere political statement. The fact of the matter, he added, was that there are people who have been detained without being charged.
“Our party leader also talked to some radio stations and clearly stated that Yahya Jammeh was not a tribalist. They are trying to silence him,” he said.
The APRC regime ruled the tiny West African nation for more than two decades, plunging the country into a long night of arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. A massive “financial haemorrage” well orchestrated by ex-dictator Jammeh, has led Gambia into bankrupcy.