Jammeh speaking to local and international journalists in November 2011
“I said shoot and ask questions later because we are not going to tolerate this nonsense,” Jammeh told members of the National Security Council, chaired by the Vice President, Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy on May 22, 2012 at State House in Banjul.
It is not clear whether this command include shooting to kill or not to kill. However, the Gambian leader, who was speaking at the security meeting meant to clean the country of criminals, dubbed “Operation Bulldozer” tasked the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lt. Gen. Massaneh Kinteh to handle operations in this area.
“…you handle that because the fact that they are armed is no longer a police matter, if you arrest them, hand them over to the police to prosecute them, but as I said shoot and ask questions later because we are not going to tolerate this nonsense,” he said.
Let him come and ask me, Mr. Jammeh said at the meeting broadcast on State-TV, referring to any person who has any objection to his order to shoot at armed robbers. The act of armed robbery, which he calls a “new phenomenon”, is not in our nature.
The last time we had almost 50 cases of murder in one year, it is not going to happen this year, he added, warning the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Yankuba Sonko and CDS Kinteh to warn the police and soldiers “that security is security.”
The C-In-C of the armed forces declared that armed robbers will not be allowed to terrorise innocent people in the Gambia. “In fact, armed robbers are not welcome in this country,” he stressed.
“I want criminals to be ready because we have to clean the Greater Banjul Area before the 22nd of June,” Jammeh said, giving a one-month of intensive offensive against criminals, in which, criminal dens will be demolished, and those found wanting to be prosecuted if apprehended.
The Greater Banjul is the country’s most densely populated region, and in which the country’s largest town, Serrekunda, is situated.
“Operation Bulldozer” will also crackdown on suspected drug dealers, pedophiles’, homosexuals, murderers, human traffickers, and tricksters (419).
Though the president ordered the CDS to handle operations against armed robbers, Jammeh said he will supervise and command operation bulldozer.
The latest operation, adds to the many attempts by the Government’s 17-year effort to put straight an increasingly growing society caught in a catch-22 situation.
Such efforts include Operation No Compromise – to tackle official corruption; Zero Tolerance to Drugs and Corruption; and Operation Feed Yourself – for food-self sufficiency.
While the tackling of official corruption and drugs have been alive and kicking, the later, Operation Feed Yourself, could not however prevent a food crisis already extant in the country and is rarely referred to these days.
Written by Modou S. Joof
Follow on Facebook: The-North-Bank-Evening-Standard