Gambians feel less safe but want ECOMIG to leave, Afrobarometer survey shows

Conflict and crime

A growing number of Gambians feel unsafe walking in their neighbourhoods and fear crime in their homes, the latest Afrobarometer survey indicates. Over the past three years, citizens’ sense of personal safety has decreased alongside their approval of the government’s efforts to reduce crime. Even so, the Gambia Armed Forces and Police Force remain among the country’s most trusted institutions. And an overwhelming majority of Gambians want the ECOWAS Military Intervention in the Gambia (ECOMIG) to leave to allow Gambia’s military and police to take charge of the security needs of the country. ECOMIG, which has been charged with security in the country since the political impasse of 2017, continues to operate under a mandate ending in December 2021. There are also discussions of transforming the mission into a policing force. In response to perceptions of an upsurge in crime, the Gambia Police Force has launched a high-visibility patrol dubbed Operation Zero Crime. In a recent address to the nation, President Adama Barrow acknowledged increasing crime and assured citizens that he would boost the capacity of the Gambia Police Force in order to respond effectively. The Gambia is also implementing a security sector reform program to move away from politicized security institutions common under the previous regime.