A unit of the Gambian police has charged down Muslim worshippers as they gathered to mark Eid-ul-Fitr in the town of Sukuta on Sunday morning, arresting an imam.Baton-wielding personnel of the Anti-Crime Unit of the police out to enforce a ban on public gatherings, dispersed the congregation just as they began to observe the last prayer rituals marking the end of weeks of fasting in and around the Brusubi Madina Suwaneh Mosque, some 22km south of Banjul.
The imam of the congregation has been arrested, bringing to three the number of prayer leaders detained for leading group worship since April.
Gatherings of all kinds including congregational worships in mosques and open grounds have been banned in The Gambia as the authorities introduced measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus which has claimed over 300, 000 lives worldwide since December.
Health authorities fear crowds could spark off a chain of local infections from the pandemic in The Gambia which currently has 25 cases, eight recoveries and one death from the respiratory disease.
The atmosphere was muted on Saturday as Gambians including President Adama Barrow under the directive of the Supreme Islamic Council officially marked Eid in the privacy of their homes.
Other Muslims who fasted one more day prayed on Sunday.
“People dressed for the occasion could be seen running away, some of them jumping over fences while kids and the elderly too weak to move were left helpless” said one eyewitness account of the raid by the police.