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Ban urges Gambia to investigate death of 3 protesters



UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has urged Gambia to conduct prompt, thorough and independent investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of three protesters while in state custody.

Ban, in a statement on Sunday in New York, said he learnt with dismay, of the death in detention, of political activist and opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) member, Solo Sandeng and two fellow party members.

The secretary-general expressed his “heartfelt” condolences to the families of the deceased.

In the statement, Ban said that the three died following their arrest on Friday for participating in a peaceful protest in Banjul.

Ban said that he was deeply concerned about the apparent use of excessive force and the arrest and detention of peaceful demonstrators in the Gambia.

He, therefore, called on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all persons arrested, including UDP leader, Ousainou Darboe.

Ban also called on the Gambian authorities to uphold the rights of the Gambian people to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

NAN reports that Gambian security forces on Friday rounded up dozens of political activists calling for the resignation of strongman President, Yahya Jammeh, ahead of his re-election attempt scheduled for December.

The demonstrators who were led by the leader of the youth wing, Sandeng, held a rare protest just outside the Gambian capital on Thursday before being beaten and held incommunicado.

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