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Hundreds demonstrated in capital Banjul 26 Jan to demand President Barrow honour 2016 commitment to serve for three-year transitional period only; police cracked down on protesters, reportedly arresting 137, including journalists; several police officers and protesters also wounded; govt same day outlawed protest movement. In audio recordings released 12 Jan, former President Jammeh announced plans to return from exile in Equatorial Guinea. Thousands demonstrated on outskirts of Banjul 16 Jan in support of his return. Govt 19 Jan said Jammeh would face “immediate arrest” and “most serious charges” if he returned. Hundreds 25 Jan marched on outskirts of Banjul calling for justice over human rights abuses under Jammeh’s rule.
Thousands demonstrated in capital Banjul 16 Dec in protest against President Barrow’s decision to rule for five years, reneging on his 2016 commitment to serve for three-year transitional period only. Barrow 31 Dec launched new party National People’s Party in move that could allow him to contest 2021 presidential elections without need for other parties to back him.
Special adviser to President Barrow, Mai Ahmad Fatty, resigned 11 Oct amid tug of war between those who want Barrow to serve five-year mandate as stipulated in constitution and those who demand that he respect his election promise to step aside after three years.
Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou 5 Aug announced release of three former army officers employed as hitmen by former President Jammeh after they confessed to Truth and Reconciliation Commission late July, prompting objections from victims and families; Tambadou argued that release was due to lack of legal proceedings to justify further imprisonment.
Hundreds 4 July marched in capital Banjul in support of victims of sexual violence demanding better laws to prevent abuse. Protests came a week after report from NGO Human Rights Watch detailed how former President Jammeh used his power as well as state institutions to entrap and sexually abuse young women. Jammeh’s party, Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, called rape allegations against Jammeh by Fatou “Toufah” Jallow in New York Times “smear campaign”. Protests erupted 24 July in Serrekunda near Banjul, sparked by death in custody of young trader, during which protesters attacked police station and police fired tear gas at protesters. Same day another protest took place in Brikama, about 30km from Banjul against lack of development in area, some protesters reportedly injured in clashes with security forces.
Authorities mid-June detained six members of army, reportedly after they admitted before Truth and Reconciliation Commission to having committed human rights violations during rule of former President Jammeh.
Security forces 10 May dispersed demonstration in capital Banjul against alleged attempts by President Barrow and his allies to retract election promise he made in 2016 to step down after 36 months in office. Govt 11 May said fifteen demonstrators had been charged as protest lacked authorisation. Court martial 27 May sentenced seven former soldiers to nine years in jail and another to three years for plotting to overthrow Barrow in 2017 with help of his ousted predecessor Jammeh.
President Barrow reshuffled cabinet after months of tension with his party; 15 March sacked VP Ousainou Darboe and two ministers, appointed Health Minister Isatou Touray as new VP. New cabinet members sworn in 28 March.