Panafrican News Agency

‘Ruthless criminals should not take advantage of liberty’, President Barrow warns

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - President Adama Barrow has said that his government cannot create the necessary environment for freedom and peace to prevail, yet allow ruthless criminals to take advantage of the situation to deny Gambians and residents the liberty to carry on with their normal lives freely.


“It is my primary duty as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to keep this country safe. Therefore, let me assure you all that I will discharge my responsibilities, both day and night, without fear, favour, ill will or affection,” he said on Tuesday in a statement on the surging crime rate in the country.


PANA reports rising crime rate in the West African nation including murder, robbery, theft and physical street attacks has intensified over the last three months.


“My government will continue to do everything possible to boost the capacity of the Gambia Police Force and other internal security services, in relation to personnel, equipment and training, in order to enhance their response capability to all threats and crimes. 


"We are aware that the country will soon enter into a new electoral cycle, beginning with the Presidential election in December  this year.

"This precedes the Legislative and Local Government elections. As we all know, free and fair elections can only be held in a secure atmosphere, free from fear and intimidation,” he said.  


The president called upon the relevant  organs of the State - the Judiciary, Legislature and the media - to play their roles and complement one another to nib the surging crime rate in the bud. 


The Gambian leader also invited development partners to support government efforts to maintain a secure and safe environment for the upcoming election and for the well-being of everyone in The Gambia. 


“As a final warning to the criminals and bandits in our midst, I hereby order the National Guard Unit of the Armed Forces to be on standby for deployment, when needed, to assume police duties, as provided for under the National Guard Unit Police Duties Regulations. Together with all citizens, we must never allow The Gambia to be a safe haven for criminal acts and banditry.


"Under these circumstances, I am duty-bound to remind and call upon all well-meaning Gambians and residents of The Gambia to equally take their own security seriously. 


"This is not about politics. Crime is not a political matter and, therefore, should not be politicised. Let us join forces to eliminate crime and expel all criminals from our communities,” he pointed out. 


He urged everyone to be vigilant, and to report suspicious activities discovered either within their neighbourhoods or on the streets, saying “Good citizens readily and willingly support law enforcement officials and even lend them a hand, where necessary, during their operations. The least we can do is not to obstruct them in any way.” 


He also urged Gambians and residents of the country not to harbour criminals in their  homes or try to assist in covering their crimes. He emphasised that  the “lives and property that the law enforcement officers strive to protect by day and night belong to us, and we do not wish to be victims of lawless criminals.”

-0- PANA MSS/AR 25May2021