Compiled by Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Last week the country was taken by surprise when a large importation of Guns was intercepted at the Banjul Seaport. Since then the Police has issued a press release to inform the public on the matter. Below is the press release from Police.
“The Office of the Inspector General of Police wishes to inform the general public that GACH SECURITY LIMITED situated at Fatou’s Gold Plaza, Bertil Harding Highway, Kanifing, The Gambia, applied for Gun Importation License in accordance with the Arms and Ammunitions Act to enable them import single barrel rifles for hunting and recreational purposes in The Gambia.
On arrival at the Banjul Seaport on Wednesday the 9th January, the shipment was subjected to routine security checks for the purpose of verification by security agents stationed at the Seaport. It was discovered that 38 of the guns were not the type authorised for importation as indicated on the packing list.
These guns are impounded by the Police and an investigation panel, consisting of personnel of the Gambia Police Force, State Intelligence Service and Gambia Armed Forces have been instituted to look into the circumstances surrounding the matter as to whether these are categories of hunting guns as claimed by the importer.
As the State Authority responsible for the granting of license under Arms and Ammunitions Act of the Gambia, the Office of the Inspector General of Police assures the general public that it will ensure national security is not compromised.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Inspector General of Police thanks the security agents for their diligence and professionalism.
Signed ASP LAMIN NJIE
PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER”
Below is a press release from GACH Security on their large Importation of Guns in The Gambia.
“Our attention has been drawn to reports doing media rounds of the interception by The Police of a container of firearms at the Seaport. Being the company at the center of these reports, we deem it necessary to release this statement to shed light on events that are the subject of this report.
GACH Security is a duly registered company under the Laws of The Gambia, with the objective to provide private security for businesses and private households as well as deal in the sale of hunting and recreational firearms.
It would be recalled that for the past 9 decades the importation of firearms for hunting and recreational purposes has been regulated by the Arms and Ammunition Act CAP 21.01 of 1924. Under this Act holders of a valid firearm import license may import certain categories of light firearms for the purpose of hunting and recreation. In deed at various times, various businesses and individuals have held such licenses and have legally imported hunting guns for especially in the regions “provinces”, where wild hog (pig) hunting is very common and widely practiced, and also for by farmers in scaring away large animals from destroying their groundnut and rice fields.
Having seen a demand for these hunting and recreational hunting, and with the knowledge that a scarcity of well-regulated hunting guns might lead to the smuggling and illegal ownership of guns from neighboring countries, we applied for a License to import firearms and ammunition. Having gone through a strict vetting process and having met the conditions, a license was granted on the 28th of September 2018.
We placed our first order of hunting guns following the legal process and submitted all relevant documents to customs authorities to facilitate the clearance of the hunting guns. Throughout this process we were transparent and no aspect of the importation process was shrouded in secrecy. If we had any sinister motives we would not have opted to use the Banjul Port knowing fully well of the high-Tech Scanning Machines and effective inspection measures put in place by the Gambia Customs.
The misunderstanding which is at the heart of this whole saga is that free samples were included in the shipment should we intend to place and order for such in the near future. These free samples included the following;
Blank Pistols which are typically sold in sports and recreational shops. They utilize a blank ammunition which only makes a loud bang and does not have the ability to cause any harm. They are used by farmers to scare away animals and hippopotamus from destroying cash crops, due to the loud sound they make. They are also widely used in cinematic productions. These pistols which can be googled are safe and can cause no harm.
The other category of weapons are hunting guns which use the regular hunting bullets with scatter pellets as opposed to a single brass or metal bullets. The misunderstanding came from the fact these weapons are shaped like Assault rifles, but are indeed regular hunting guns using regular hunting bullets. A google search comparison of “Mezzanine Fed Shotgun” as opposed to “Assault Rifle” will shed more light on the physical similarities but stark functional differences.
We have informed the authorities of this and submitted all necessary documentation to support our assertion. These free samples shipped without any ammunition were not meant for sale or use but merely as samples should we be interested in placing future orders.
In light of the above and being the responsible thing to do, GACH SECURITY wishes to take this opportunity to profusely apologize to the general public and the authorities for the alarm that this misunderstanding may have caused. We are well mindful of the current security situation coming out of such a trying period in our history as a nation and assure the public that our actions were not in any way meant to disrupt public peace and tranquility.
We take this opportunity to applaud our able men and women of the Security Forces, the Gambian Police, the SIS and the Army for the swift and diligent way in which they are conducting their investigations. Their professionalism and swiftness in discovering this anomaly is an assurance that the security and peace of this nation is guaranteed.
In the meantime, are cooperating fully with the Authorities as the continue their investigations into this matter and remain available to clarify any concerns that the public might have. We pledge to continue acting as we have always done in line with the Laws in force. We thank the public for your kind attention. Any questions from the Press may be directed to: email@example.com.
Signed Public Relations Department.”