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ECOMIG Calls for Calm, Says Kanilai Shooting is Regrettable

The ECOWAS military mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG) has called for calm following the shooting of a commercial vehicle driver in Kanilai, the village of exiled former president Yahya Jammeh.

Ismaila Tamba, a former soldier was shot by a member of The Gambia Armed Forces on Sunday at a military checkpoint in Kanilai, 119km from Banjul. On Tuesday, the army issued a statement alleging that Tamba was challenged by the soldier on sentry duty to stop the vehicle and return back to the check point for the routine search procedure as required. According to the statement, he failed to do so and attempted to drive away. “In an apparent attempt to disable the tyre of the vehicle, the soldier on sentry duty shot at the vehicle thereby resulting to the injury of the driver on his back,” the statement said. Tamba has been recuperating at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul.

The incident has triggered anger in Kanilai and its environs, as well as on social media. In a statement issued Thursday, ECOMIG assured Gambians of their safety.

“The isolated incident is unfortunate and regrettable especially coming in the course of an otherwise genuine duty call at the said check point by the GAF soldier. ECOMIG sympathizes with the victim and wishes him a speedy recovery,” the statement read.

The ECOWAS Mission called on the public “to remain calm and exercise maximum restraint while GAF conducts its thorough investigative process in order to come out with positive measures to avert a re-occurrence of this isolated incident.”

“ECOMIG will continue to work in harmony with GAF, the Police and other security agencies to ensure peace and stability for Gambians to go about their normal duties without any fear and concerns about their safety.”

This is not the first time an incident occurred at Kanilai involving armed soldiers. In June 2017, a demonstration in the village against the presence of ECOMIG forces left at least two people injured as protesters clashed with the sub-regional troops from Senegal.

ECOMIG forces were deployed to Kanilai and other parts of the country in January 2017 to oust Jammeh after he refused to step down following his December 2016 election defeat.

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