(JollofNews) – Authorities in the Gambia have launched a crackdown on opposition activists following President Yahya Jammeh’s annulment of the December 1st election results, which was won by the opposition.
Officers of the feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA), who reports directly to the president, and are responsible for protecting state security, collecting intelligence, and conducting covert investigations, are said to be driving around the streets in pick-up trucks and arresting anyone wearing a t-shirt with the slogan Gambia Has Decided.
Among those arrested and detained at unknown security units over the past 24-hours include Daba Muhammed Kuyateh of Bakoteh and Alpha Sey of Serrekunda.
The officers are also said to be searching for members of the Gambia Has Decided team including Raffie Diab, who have gone into hiding.
Writing on his Facebook page, Mr Diab said: “Am safe and sound right now and let them know that whatever tactics they wanna use to intimidate us, will not succeed. This regime is already over and the majority of the country and the whole world is behind us. Let’s prepare ourselves for the 19th January and we should all unite and be one.”
In another post, he wrote: “They are really scared and intimidated by our movement hence they are now going around arresting us. Gone are those days were we will let fear overcome us. Let’s start outing them and taking their pictures. Naming and shaming them. Taking pictures of their vehicles including their number plates. Some of them don’t wanna be seen in public because they wanna safeguard the little reputation they have so as to survive when their boss is finally gone.
“They can’t arrest us all. Can we starting taking pictures of NIA agents doing these arrests and putting them online together with the cars showing their number plates. Right now they are trying to protect themselves post Jammeh era and once we start doing this, they will be careful. They know that the time is up for them.
“This movement cannot be stopped. Even if they lock us up or make us disappear, others will pick up the pieces and go with it further. It belongs to all Gambians. The moment they realise that, they will stop all these scare tactics they using against our movement. No amount of intimidation will stop us. Now let’s just wait for 19th January to swear in our new President Barrow.
Meanwhile, activists have issued the following guide on how to avoid being arrested and threatened by the NIA:
1. Disable your location services on your phone or your laptop.
2. Do not be alone. Move in groups.
3. Shout when the NIA approach you.
4. Run towards a crowd when the NIA want to arrest you.
5. Change you profile picture to #GambiaHasDecided or Gambia flag or anything representative of the Gambia.
6. If you cannot put on your #GambiaHasDecided T-shirt, use stickers to paste.
7. When someone is arrested, let us all assemble around him or her and demand his or her release. Call everyone to come around.
8. Call people when you see someone arrested. Share information promptly.
9. Make sure your phone is always fully charged and with credits.
10. Take pictures and videos of any arrest incident and share. Take the face of the NIA officer and the victim. Take good pictures and videos.
11. Create Facebook accounts without your name. Call it ‘New Gambia’, etc.
12. Stay at home if you have no business outside. Always link with fellow activists on social media.
13. Inform family, friends, colleagues and others of your whereabouts. All the time.
14. If arrested by the NIA, ask for their reasons for arresting you. Claim your rights. Tell them you have not committed any crime but you are defending the vote. Don’t panic.
15. If interrogated, comply and answer truthfully to save your life. Do not panic. Talk nicely. Insist on your rights. Remind them of their obligation to abide by the rule of law.
16. Stay focused and determined. Your cause is right.
17. Stay smart. Be innovative. Be alert.