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26.11.2008 Feature Article

Security Forces Running Amok in the Gambia

In the Middle of November while the Rest of the World was marking the End of the First World War Amnesty International Released A Report. This Report entitled " Gambia: Fear Rules" Paints a Picture that does not show any reason to be optimistic.

First of all a Brief History of the Jammeh Regime. He has been in Power since 1994. In that time there have been Six Failed Coup Attempts. The Most Recent one which occured in March 2006 led to the Arrest of 59 People. The Resulting Actions include Unlawful Detentions, Grossly Unfair Trials, Torture and even Extrajudicial Executions. Sadly this appears to be the norm not the exception.

The Heavy Handed Reaction by the State Intelligence Services After that Coup Attempt and in several Instances afterwords are indictative of a Cult of Personality. There is Lack of Respect for the Rule of Law in the Country. According to a Human Rights Defender: "Once you are Arrested, you are out of the protection of the law and subject ot all kinds of Human Rights Violations from the Police,the Army and the National Intelligence Agency".

Another Area of Concern is the Investigation of 44 Ghanian and an even more undetermined Number of West African Refugees that were Massacred in 2005. Currently there is a Joint UN/ECOWAS Investigation to determine what actually happened to cause such a Horrific Event. There have been attempts to Stonewall the Investigation by the Gambian Authorities. President Jammeh has stated that Reports of His Involvement in this Atrocity are works of those Opposed to His Leadership.

Now there is a Growing Call for Action to be Taken Regarding the Situation in the Gambia. One Activist Stated that " The International Community must not take a Blind Eye to the Situation in the Gambia." The Same Person also Stated that "Pressure must be Brought to Ensure that the Government takes its Human Rights Obligations Seriously."

One of the Most Effective Means that could deliver Pressure on the Gambian Government is to have the African Commission adopt a Resolution regarding the Human Rights Climate within the Country. The Country has Historically Close Relations with Senegal so that may be an approach to have the Resolution Passed. Clearly the Situation in the Gambia needs to be Addressed. Maybe the Western Powers could assist with the UN Human Rights Committee as well.

The Climate within Gambia is not Pleasant if you are Opposed any way to the Current Administration. Journalists that have not been incarcarated have been driven into exile. There hasn't been any Information regarding whether or not if there has been any role Gambia is playing in the newly Emerging Drug Trade to Europe. But one thing is certain Gambia is fast becoming a Pariah State in Western Africa.

The Author Comments on US Policy towards Africa and Publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet. it can be found at

Scott A Morgan
Scott A Morgan, © 2008

This author has authored 88 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: ScottAMorgan

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