Join APRC or Risk Killed

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Soaked to her throat, Lisa Jammeh blankly stared at the two strangers standing in front of her.  
The two men she could not identify knocked at her door at late night hours of ten on Dec. 4 and asked about the whereabouts of her husband.
“When I told them my husband traveled to his native village in Kiang, they asked me to warn him to either stay away from politics or join ruling APRC else he will face a bitter consequence,” terrified Lisa Jammeh told The Daily News.
Her husband, Mr Fakebba Kolley is the campaign manager for main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP)in the Kiang West constituency.
An opposition stronghold that voted in one of the five opposition sponsored parliamentarians in Gambian National Assembly, provincial-Kiang West was the only constituency where Gambian president Yahya Jammeh had lost in 2006 polls.
But in the just concluded presidential election in which Jammeh re-emerged winner for a fourth term, Kiang West fell into the hands of the ruling APRC party, though the opposition has rejected the election results.
In spite of the electoral commission declared landslide victory to the ruling military-junta-turned-civilian APRC party, yet opposition supporters are receiving threats ahead the National Assembly elections due in March 2012.
Lisa’s husband, Mr Kolley, who doubles as the national youth secretary general of UDP claims to be a victim.
“My wife conveyed the threatening message to me when I was in Kiang, but I could not return right away because I was engaged,” Mr Kolley, who walked into the offices of
The Daily News said.
“On Monday December 7, I went to the mosque to say my early morning prayers and when I came back I found a letter addressed to me dropped at my compound gate,” he said.
The letter, a copy of which he has shown to this paper bears no signatory. Its content is threatening, but Mr Kolley insisted that he doesn’t feel threatened.
“I received a similar threat after the 2006 presidential election,” he said. “My daughter too was threatened and she fled the country after the 2006 polls.  I last heard from her  when she was in Sweden some two years ago.”
Fakebba’s daughter, Fatou Kolley is 26 years of age this year. And in the recent threatening letter, Kolley has been warned not to participate in the upcoming National Assembly election for his own safety and that of his family.
“You are even lucky that APRC won in Kiang West this year because (sic) your compound would have been bornt (sic) down,” reads the letter written in a bad english.
Similar life threatening messages were received by Mr Foday Gassama, a UDP sponsored candidate in Brikama Nyambia ward.
“Foday Gassama, you better learn from Kanyiba Kanyi because as UDP cordinator,(sic) you have  no reason to oppose APRC,” reads a message sent to the him in his cell phone.
The yet-to-be identified sender using a cell phone number 7415158, warns him not to participate in the upcoming parliamentary election.
“If you ignore these advise, then your life is in danger,” the message reads further.
Like Fakebba Kolley, such life threatening message is not new to Mr Gassama though he is concerned.
“I received a similar message in 2010, on the vary day former Libyan leader Ghadafi, who was being hosted by president Jammeh was having a meeting with the country’s youths at the independence stadium,” he remembers.
Mr Shyngle Nyassi, the UDP chief propagandist is not spared. “Some unidentified callers have been calling me with a restricted number threatening on my life.
“My son, who was the agent of the party in Kanilai, the birth village of President Jammeh also received similar threats.
“No amount of threat can make me retreat,” the firebrand politician said, though when it comes to his family he is concerned. “I am concern about the live of my son and my family,” he said.
Meanwhile, The Daily News understands that Mr Colley and Gassama have both reported their matter to the police.
Fakebba, who resides in Nema Kunku village in Kombo North districts is having his residential area patrolled at night by some policemen ever since  he reported the matter, this paper gathered.
Similarly, Mr Gassama has reported his case at the Brikama police station and was issued a reference number: D/Ref/Number/ 88/9/11. The phone number was called, but could not be reached. However, Mr Nyassi said he is yet to lodge complaint at the police because he could not still trace the callers.

Editor’s Note

We reproduced the letters below and deliberately refused to edit it to expose the level of those behind this clandestine, but familiar act towards opposition supporters in The Gambia.

Letter to Colley reads:

Dear Mr Colley

It is unfortunate that We Went (sic) to your compound to advice (sic) you but we were told that you went to Kiang. We have talked to your wife to advice (sic) you to keep away from poltic (they wanted to write politics) because you have no reason to oppose A.p.R.C.
We also understand that you work hand in hand with Mr Single Nyassi of Brikama Who (sic) is and enemy to A.P.R.C.
Mr Colley We Want (sic) you to be very careful and stop opposing A.P.R.C. We understand your political activities both in Kiang and Kombo here is too much. We are therefore advicing (sic) you to stop opposing the Government else you will face a serious consequence.
You are even lucky that A.P.R.C Won in Kiang West this year because your compound would have been bornt (sic: wrong spelling) down. We are advicing (sic) you not to participate in the coming National Assembly Election.
This may be risky at your side. This is our advice to you and we hope you will take it. It is better for you to keep away politics in the interest of your family before you loose your compound or separate from your family. Please be careful or join the ruling party for your own security. We are watching own you to see if you will take our advice.
Thank you

And the message to Gassama reads:

Foday Gassama, you better learn from Kanyiba Kanyi [disappeared under mysterious circumstances since 2006]  because as UDP cordinator you have no reason to oppose APRC. Now is left to you to decide either not to participate for the coming National Assembly election (…). If you ignore these advise, then your life is in danger.

Author: Alhagie Ceesay
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