Tuesday, August 2, 2016

RED ALERT: Opposition members targeted for enforced disappearances

As the scheduled presidential elections draw closer to the December date, the remaining opposition leaders who have managed so far to escape imprisonment have become prime targets of Yaya Jammeh.

Enforced disappearance appear to be the preferred option because Jammeh has jailed nearly the entire upper echelon of the country's largest opposition party using his overburdened courts manned by Nigerian mercenary judges.

Arresting, charging and imprisoning political opponents for simply exercising their constitutional right of peaceful protest has proven controversial at best and has attracted swift international attention and condemnation and threats of sanctions. The regime has decided to apply other methods of silencing dissent including enforced disappearances.

United Democratic Party members appear to be Jammeh's prime but not exclusive target for enforced disappearances as demonstrated last week when a decade old case was revived to arrest and charge a prominent member of the newly formed Gambia Democratic Party with theft.

Jammeh appears to have assembled a team, purposely, to abduct his political enemies and those posing the most threat to his grip on power, including prominent members of the opposition that the regime fears the most who are still beyond his grasp.

Maundering vigilantes, otherwise referred to as "patrol teams" take their orders from Jammeh and victims who fall into the net are whisk away to detention centers in Kanilai or surrounding villages in Casamance control by or sympathetic to the MFDC, never to be seen again.

Last week for instance, a prominent member of the opposition missed being arrested by one of these "patrol teams"when they went to his compound and found that he'd gone out. When the Inspector General was asked about the attempt to arrest a member of the opposition, he denied any knowledge it suggests that Jammeh has activated the patrol team under the command of General Borra Colley.