The Ministry of the Interior intensifies its investigations into enforced disappearances as the unmarked grave of the late Patriot Mr. Sandeng was discovered and remains exhumed – inconceivably painful experience. The Missing Persons Panel I constituted continues to work on all leads around the country, and fourteen junglers are under custody, some already on trial for torture and murder, including former NIA DG Yankuba Badjie. I have authorized and invoked international criminal repatriation cooperation processes regarding those out of the jurisdiction for fugitives like Ousman Sonko, etc, and there is success with Bora Colley.

The investigations into the unacceptable assault of Journalist Kebba Jeffang Jnr continues as well. No one should be a victim for the legitimate expression of his/her views, and I regret that the unexpected incident happened. Valuable lessons were learnt. We will provide security for journalists at public functions if they make the request in advance, and as far as law enforcement deployment can accommodate. Freedom of expression and of the press are here to stay.

Yesterday afternoon, the Ministry invited and hosted private sector economic operators to a meeting to partner on prison reform, and to render penal servitude consistent with international human rights standards. So far, we released over 270 convicted prisoners. We will continue to decongest prisons while improving security and the criminal justice system. Meanwhile I terminated the services of David Colley, who was arrested, detained and is being investigated for specific allegations of overseeing systematic dehumanizing treatment of prisoners.

Regarding insecurity around southern border settlements in Foni, I held community meeting with Chiefs, Council of Elders and representatives of over 300 Alkalolu from Foni and West Coast Region in Brikama to discuss the situation. I authorized the additional deployment of joint Police/Immigration border patrol to beef up our presence to assure our communities along the Cassamance frontier. I also advised Police prosecutions unit to suspend prosecution through the courts, regarding the Foni Kanfenda victory celebration disturbances to give reconciliation exercises among the community a chance. Some of the accused are juveniles. This is in furtherance of community policing initiatives. We will not rest in our service delivery to Gambians while the security services sector reform agenda is on course. In the process, we may make some unintended mistakes and count on our citizens to remain vigilant as the guarantors of our democracy.

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