Gambia: Executions will prevent crime

2012-09-05 17:47
Yahya Jammeh. (AFP)

Yahya Jammeh. (AFP)

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Banjul - Gambia's police chief said the execution of nine death row prisoners in the tiny west African nation, would make people think twice about committing crimes, in an interview published on Wednesday.

"The tougher the penalties, the more careful people will be when committing crimes," police chief Yankuba Sonko told The Standard newspaper.

"The law on the death penalty was passed by parliament and they foresee the reasons for passing it. We are now at the enforcing side of it and this will go a long way in reducing the crime rate in the country."

No official crime statistics are released by government in the tiny country which is surrounded by Senegal on three sides except for a strip of Atlantic coast, and has a population of 1.7 million.


Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh on August 19 announced that all death row prisoners would be executed by mid-September. A week later the first batch of nine convicts were executed by firing squad.

The killings caused international outrage, especially in neighbouring Senegal which counted two citizens amongst those executed.

Rights groups estimate another 38 convicts face the firing squad, however no new executions have been announced after a volley of calls from around the world for Banjul to halt the killings.

An AFP correspondent in Banjul reports increased security around the country since the executions were carried out, with armed soldiers seen patrolling the streets of the capital and other towns.

Jammeh, who seized power in a 1994 coup, rules the country with an iron fist, brooking no criticism.

The man who claims he can cure Aids and other illnesses, is often pilloried for rights abuses and the muzzling of journalists. Often accused by observers of paranoia he regularly reshuffles his government.

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