The bloody protests by civilians in the mining town of Faraba Banta have forced Gambia’s Inspector General of Police, Mr. Landing Kinteh, to resign.
IGP Kinteh reportedly tendered his resignation to President Adama Barrow on Thursday.
His resignation was particularly ignited as questions are asked about who gave the orders to shoot at the demonstrators when they took to the streets.
The took to the streets to protest sand mining operations in the town, located 50 km south of the capital Banjul.
Kinteh and Interior minister Ebrima Mballow had denied giving instructions to shoot at protesters, causing confusion over where the order to use live ammunition to deal with the protesters had emanated from.
Two protesters had died on the spot while a third succumbed to gunshot wounds on Wednesday, 48 hours after live bullets were used to deal with the protest.
At least five police officers fingered in the shootings have been arrested, according to President Barrow’s office which has set up a panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.
There were violent scenes in Faraba Banta where a detachment of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) battled with protesters who descended on the streets, demanding a stop to sand mining activities in the town.
Residents say such operations which began last year, threaten their rice fields and could cause environmental degradation in this largely agrarian community.
In the aftermath of the clashes, President Barrow has issued a directive suspending all mining activities in The Gambia until further notice.
The Gambian leader who urged calm, visited the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul where some protesters and police officers injured in the clashes are admitted.