Gambian police chief quits after protesters' deaths

Police Line
Police Line

The Gambia's police chief resigned on Thursday over the deaths of three young men after police fired on marchers at an anti-pollution protest.

"The inspector general of police, Landing Kinteh, has tendered his resignation and it has been approved by President Adama Barrow," police spokesman David Kujabie told AFP on Thursday.

Locals have been protesting at Faraba Banta, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of the capital Banjul, over the mining of sand which they say is badly polluting rice farms.

Two young men were killed on Monday and a 24-year-old student died in hospital on Wednesday.

Five more civilians and 16 police officers were injured in the clashes, according to an official toll.

Following the violence, the office of the inspector general of police said it had not authorised the use of guns on protesters.

President Barrow who last year succeeded the autocrat Yahya Jammeh -- on Thursday set up an inquiry into the incident.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International cited witnesses as saying that demonstrators had been blocking mining-related road traffic when police reinforcements arrived and opened fire without warning.

A protest at the end of May had seen police use rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protestors.

The violence "conjured up painful memories from Gambia's recent past," said Sabrina Mahtani, West Africa researcher at Amnesty, referring to Jammeh's 22-year iron-fisted rule.

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