Authorities in the Gambia have Thursday suspended all permits issued to political parties in the country to hold political rallies.
The decision was made following recent clashes between supporters of the country’s former governing party, APRC, and supports of the coalition government of President Adama Barrow.
The APRC which governed the Gambia for 20 years, is holding its first nationwide tour to shore up its local supporters following its shock defeat in the December 2016 president election.
On Monday, the APRC convoy was ambushed and pelted with missiles by youths of Mankamangkunda, the home village of President Adama Barrow, on its way to Lower River Region (LRR).
One member, Muhammed Badjie, 40, from Farato, sustained serious injuries and is currently admitted at the Bansang hospital in the Central River Region (CRR).
Two female members, Rohey Jammeh of Kanilai and Oumie Gibba of Tanjeh who sustained minor injuries were treated and discharged.
Although the matter was reported to the police, no one has been arrested or questioned.
On Wednesday, the APRC convoy was again involved in a fracas with youths of Busumbala as it makes its way to Serrekunda.
A number of people are reported to have been injured and several properties damaged.
As the situation remains volatile, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Landing Kinteh, said all permits for political activities are being suspended as investigations into the two incidents continue.
And while urging Gambians to comply with the directives and to desist from violence, the police boss reminded them that the country is democracy where all are free to support any political party of their choice.
In a letter sent to head of all political parties in the country, the police boss said: “The Office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) notifies all political parties that all permits granted to conduct political activities have been suspended until further notice.
The decision to suspend all political activity permits has been taken following violent incidents in Mankamang Kunda in Upper River Region (URR) and Busumbala in West Coast Region on 8th and 1th January respectively.
The Office of the IGP urges the general public to comply with the directives and warns all to desist from any form of violence. The Gambia is a democratic country where all are free to support any political party of their choice.
The Office of the Inspector General of Police further informs the general public that investigations are underway regarding the two incidents anyone found to have run afoul of the law would be dealt with according to the full force of the law.”