“The U.S. Embassy in Banjul will resume normal consular operations on Monday, June 13,” said a statement issued by the US Embassy. The recent development will no doubt be welcomed by visa applicants, whose interview dates were deferred as a result of the suspension of Consular Services.
It would recalled that the US Embassy Banjul announced few days ago, that the Gambian government has unexpectedly withdrawn police protection for the Embassy. In response, the Embassy also announced the suspension Consular Services to the public.
That decision of the US Embassy has been rescinded. In a statement issued on Friday, the US Embassy says it would resume normal Consular operations on Monday.
“The U.S. Embassy in Banjul has suspended all non-essential services, including visa appointments, for Friday, June 10, because The Gambian government has unexpectedly withdrawn police protection,” a press release issued by the US Embassy has intimated. “For urgent consular assistance, U.S. citizens should contact the Embassy at the numbers below. The Embassy will continue to closely monitor the situation, and will keep you informed,” the statement added.
The Embassy urges US subjects who are in need of an urgent Consular Service to “Contact the U.S. Embassy in Bajul, located at 92 Kairaba Avenue, Fajara, Banjul, at +(220) 439-2856. After hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(220) 437-5270. Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).”
In a statement titled: “Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Non-essential Services Cancelled on Friday, June 10,” the US Embassy noted that all visa appointments has been suspended for now until further notice. This followed an unprecedented move taken by The Gambian government to withdraw the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) personnel, who were posted at the Embassy premises along the busy street of the Kairaba Avenue.
No reason was given for the withdrawal of Gambia’s Police Intervention Unit (PIU) personnel from the Embassy facility. This is not the first time that dictator Yahya Jammeh, has ordered for the withdrawal of the PIU from the US Embassy premises. He issued a similar directive sometime last year.
The deranged Kanilai monster has been under the scrutiny of rights activists—notably Amnesty International, who accused his leadership of perpetuating gross rights abuses—ranging from false imprisonment of citizens, torture, and in some occasions extrajudicial executions.
Amnesty and other rights groups have been calling for economic and visa sanctions to be imposed against the Jammeh regime. The rights bodies have vehemently criticized dictator Jammeh for his flagrant rights violations in the wake of the recent peaceful protest march organized by the main opposition UDP. Ebrima Sandeng, an official of the UDP, was tortured to death by Jammeh’s security agents, leaving dozen others seriously injured.
The European Union recently tabled a motion for The Gambia government to be sanctioned economically. There were also calls made for travel ban to be imposed against the regime.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai