Below is an account of Fabakary Ceesay’s account of an incident that resulted to exchange of blows at the Kairaba Beach Hotel where 61st Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights have been taking place.
Though I arrived [at the meeting] late without knowing that the president is gracing the session. The security forces were very arrogant towards the people that came late. I approached one of them and exchanged words in our local language and showed him my accreditation. He let us in to the first level of the hall at the reception where he asked us to wait for a protocol officer. After almost 2 hours, I saw Protocol Officer Jobarteh and talked to him. He went inside and came back after 30 minutes and asked the security to let us in. While I stepped back to pick my bag, this ECOMIC-Senegalese officer came and pulled my bag and said “the hall is full.” I told him since he is outside he cannot say so because the protocol officer had asked us to enter. He pushed me and I too pushed him. He hit me on my chest saying since in the morning “I saw you arguing with our colleagues in rude way.” I responded back telling him that he too is rude. Then he hit me again; I hit him back and pointed a gun on my chest threatening to pull the trigger. I never backed off after he hung his gun and pushed me and I pushed back. We exchanged few blows before two of his colleagues joined him to drag me out until I sustained injuries on my finger in front of lots of people. One hit me on my shoulder while the other hit me at the back of my head.
Almost all local and international participants and Gambian PIU [Police Intervention Unit] officers were amazed by the behaviour. All of them were not expecting the president to grace the occasion as that had never been the case.
We have been attending the NGO and CSO forum preceding the African Commission session since Saturday 28 October. We all thought the session will start at the same as it has been since 28 October. If that was the case me and several of our international and local colleagues would not come late.