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Is mental illness on the rise among PIU officers?
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Is mental illness on the rise among PIU officers?

Some of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) officers who were recruited shortly before the 2021 presidential elections are allegedly suffering from mental health issues and substance abuse.

An insider at the Police Headquarters in Banjul disclosed to What's On-Gambia: "Before the presidential elections, we badly needed extra men for crowd control, so we were just taking people from the streets and recruiting them without any proper screening."

He continued: "They were rapidly recruited and deployed to different parts of the country to provide security and for peacekeeping during the campaign period."

One of the recruits, who was promoted to the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) cadet, was recently taken into custody after brandishing a gun on social media threatening to kill United Democratic Party (UDP) supporters.

In one of his Facebook posts, ASP Yankuba Camara labeled opposition leader and presidential candidate Ousainou Darboe a "crazy cow".

Some of his neighbors in Brikama said they were shocked when they saw him in PIU uniform. One of them said: "He has been battling mental illness for many years. We cannot still understand how the police were unable to detect that he was not okay."

In a media statement, the police revealed they are working with ASP Camara's family for appropriate psychiatric support and treatment recommendations.

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