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GAMBIA: RIOT POLICE USED TEAR GAS ON A GATHERING OF APRC NO-TO-ALLIANCE FACTION, ONE OF THEM A NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER

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At the Tallinding Youth Centre on Sunday night, riot police used tear gas on a gathering of APRC members who identified as the “No-to-Alliance” faction. Tumanding Sanneh, who is the National Assembly Member for Foñi Jarrol, was one of those who were gassed.

According to Yaya Tamba, leader of the “No-to-Alliance” group, who spoke at a news conference in Lamin yesterday, the fundraising was underway when the police summoned the organisers to Bundung station, informed them that their permit had been cancelled, and asked them to end the event.
He claimed that a PIU contingent was dispatched to the station to seize individuals, teargas the fundraiser, and disturb their negotiations. He claimed that NAM Sanneh, who was attempting to defuse the situation, was one among those tear-gassed.

Nearby Ahmadiyya and Bundung hospitals treated nine patients, and Mr. Tamba reported that at least twenty persons were “victimised” in the incident. According to him, several individuals were taken into custody and subsequently released at the Denton Bridge.
He stated that several individuals lost items, including mobile phones, in the subsequent chaos that ensued after the police used tear gas, and that one woman lost D11,000 worth of cash from her purse.

Police Commissioner Gass Sabally performed a spot check on Sunday between 5 and 6 pm and found no breach of the permission conditions, according to Mr Tamba, who said they requested for the permit on 31 December and it was accepted on 2 January.

“As people were arriving at the venue, the taskforce in charge of the fundraising was informed that the permit had been revoked, so they were summoned to Bunding Police Station for a dialogue between 7 and 8 o’clock,” he explained.

According to Tamba, they were advised that they were abusing their party affiliation by utilising the logo of the APRC.

He claimed they had successfully held comparable fundraisers two years ago without ever having to apply for a permission, and that they had experienced zero harassment as a result.

The “brutality” inflicted upon his people was “callous and unjustified,” he added, adding the police’s behaviour was “unethical, unprofessional, and extremely irresponsible.”

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