Concern Gambians as well as parents have called on all and sundry to be conscious of detractors in and out of the country whose intentions are to see Gambians fight and kill each other just like that of Libya and elsewhere.
A good number of them made these corroborative statements yesterday while speaking to Daily Observer reporters on the baseless rumous of child kidnapping in the country that has instilled fear in the public, compelling parents to escort, others withdrawing their children from school.
Kebba Conteh, head-master of Sukuta Lower Basic School refuted the rumours that eighteen students from his school were kidnapped. “As I speak to you no student has been kidnapped in my school, although attendance has been affected but lessons are not affected.”
Imam Alhaji Ismaila Baye of Sukuta said the rumour is unfounded and is peddled by people who do not wish the country well. “But again when elections are approaching people make several claims to instill fear in people. “Let us wish our country well and pray so that the peace we are enjoying can continue to prevail.”
Eve Bajett, a Grade 7 student of St. Therese Upper Basic School said he heard of the rumour, but he does not believe in it as he is going to and from school safely. “I have not seen anyone who is a victim and I want to urge parents to allow their children to come to school.”
One of the principals who decided to speak on the condition of anonymity told the Daily Observer that the rumour did not affect her school because, according to her, they believe it is just a rumour that no one can substantiate. “We are going on with our normal daily activities and classes are going as normal.” She urged parents to leave their children to go to school, as there is no iota of truth in the rumour.
Fatima Gomez, head girl of St. Therese’s Upper Basic School totally dismissed the rumour, noting that it has not affected the attendance of students in her school. She urged students to go to school and go home after school.
Philip M. Goba, head boy of the same school shared the same thoughts with his head girl, while Kura Njie-Jobe, vice principal of Latrikunda Kunda Upper Basic School added: “We are not aware of any kidnapping and classes are going on normal, am quite sure it is just a rumour and no parent has come to pick his or her child from the school.”
A Grade 11 student from Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Secondary School said she came across the news on Facebook. “I also heard from friends and colleagues discuss about the rumour, I was initially scared but later find out that it was just a mere rumour.”
Fatou Kebbeh, a native of Wellingara village said: “Yes we had the news that the President of the Republic is been told by his oracle to sacrifice school children for the coming election. We were very worried but again whosoever knows President Jammeh will know that his best friends are children and I know he does not have such heart for children. But the rumours went viral and we feel for the safety of our children we should escort them to and from school.”
When asked by our reporter whether she witness or had of any of her relatives child been adducted, Madam Kebbeh said she didn’t see or had a child been adducted but what she believe is a rumour that is going around town and since it’s not clear to them they have to look after their kids until they have clear news.
The governor for the Upper River Region, Alhaji Omar Sompo Ceesay described the rumour as unfounded. He said when the rumour reaches the region he immediately instituted a panel to do findings at the end of which they found everything to be false.
“Those behind it are only doing it to create discomfort and panic in the country ahead of the election. The Gambia is well known for its peace, thus peace and stability will continue to remain in the country,” he said, while urging people to be aware of detractors who he referred to as enemies of The Gambia.
For his part, Seedy Jatta another concerned parent in URR described the news as false. He added that this rumour is been spread by unpatriotic Gambians who are leaving in the Diaspora and are frustrated after exhausting all attempts to seek asylum to live there.
“We know them and we know their intentions especially in this crucial period of the election,” he said. “Most of them were working for the government but because of their corrupt attitude they were fired and the only thing they think can work for them is to turn against the government.”
Neneh Darboe of Basse Mansajang also in URR said the rumour has hindered the attendance in some schools in the region. She said such kind of information is false. She thus called on those unpatriotic Gambians to stop creating problem and participate in national development process.
The lord mayor of the Kanifing Municipality described the rumour as false and baseless spread by enemies of The Gambia. He said it is political and a calculated move to create panic ahead of the election.
“Gambians will go to polls and vote peacefully, no amount of lies or false rumour will stop us from voting. The Gambia is a peaceful country and no amount of sabotage or lies will stop us from voting. They are equally sending children into fears they are not doing that to anybody but themselves which is very wrong. The politics comes and go but the country stays, so we should know that and for me am seeing the whole scenario as political and that cannot stop APRC from winning so they will fail woefully in their smear campaign. The Gambian people are no fools and they will continue to support the President,” he said.
By Musa Ndow, Sheriff Janko, Bekai Njie, Momodou Jawo, Salifu M. Touray, Alieu Ceesay and Omar Wally