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Jammeh loyalists decry police arrests, plan protests to demand release

Jammeh loyalists decry police arrests, plan protests to demand release

Gambia

Dozens of opposition supporters in the Gambia have been arrested by police in the western town of Kafenda – a stronghold of the former leader, Yahya Jammeh, an opposition spokesperson and former information minister has said.

Seedy Njie, now the spokesperson for Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, (APRC), said the police picked up 51 supporters including three nursing mothers and 26 minors. Reports indicate that all the minors have since been released.

‘‘They (Barrow faithful) called Jammeh a killer and criminal and started raining insults on them (APRC supporters),’‘ he told local media outlets.

They called Jammeh a killer and criminal and started raining insults on them (APRC supporters).

But a police spokesman Foday Conta said the arrests over the weekend were as a result of an exchange of insults by Jammeh faithful and people returning from Barrow’s inauguration celebration at the national stadium on Saturday. Some threw stones, Conta added.

The opposition said they were planning protests in two towns where the detainees are being held to demand their release.

Kafenda is one of the regions that traditionally votes for Jammeh and the APRC. Jammeh who is currently in exile in Equatorial Guinea, governed the tiny West African country for over two decades.

He was defeated in presidential elections last December by the then opposition coalition candidate, Adama Barrow. He initially accepted the results before backtracking – a decision that put the country on edge as his mandate run out on January 19.

Barrow was aided by the regional bloc, ECOWAS, to take his first oath in Senegal after which regional forces were deployed to oust Jammeh. The latter agreed to fly into exile after mediation by his Guinean and Mauritanian peers.

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