22 arrested, detained for playing football

Posted by News Express | 19 August 2013 | 5,196 times

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Twenty-two young people, including children, have been arrested and detained by the police in The Gambia for playing football, according to a report from the West African nation.

The 22 found themselves in hot waters when they were arrested “by the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) in Sukuta, in the Niani District of Central River Region (CRD), on Monday 12 and Tuesday 13 August 2013, purportedly for playing football to mark the end of the Muslim ‘Koriteh’ feast,” reports the popular Gambian newspaper, Foroyaa. “They were taken to the Governor’s office and later to the remand wing in Janjanbureh,” the paper says, quoting reliable sources.

Sources from the village told Foroyaa that it is a tradition now that after every feast, the villagers would organise a football match between the young people and the middle aged. A source, according to the paper, “claimed that after this ‘Koriteh’ feast, while the villagers were at the field, the Alkalo of the village, J.J. Kanteh, called the district Chief and informed him about the football match taking place at his village and the chief in turn informed the Governor.

“According to sources, the villagers were surprised by the fact that when these people were arrested, they were first taken to the Governor’s office instead of the police station. When contacted, Commissioner Ebrima Cham, the Police Commissioner of the Central River Region, confirmed the arrest of the 22 young people in Sukuta Niani, adding that they were arrested for playing football. According to him, there was an executive order that there should not be any football match during the rainy season and that these young people disobeyed the executive order. He said this is the reason why they were arrested and detained.”

•Photo courtesy Lancashire Telegraph shows a group of Gambian footballers (not those arrested).

Source: News Express

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