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Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 07:51 GMT 08:51 UK
More election violence in Gambia
Supporters of Gambia's new opposition coalition
Opposition supporters are hopeful of victory
By West Africa correspondent Mark Doyle in the Gambian capital, Banjul

At least one person has been killed in election violence in the West African state of The Gambia ahead of presidential polls on Thursday.

The country is normally peaceful and the death of even one person will reverberate through society.

The election is likely to be the closest run election race in the country's history.

President Yahya Jammeh - Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction
Ousainou Darboe - Three-party opposition alliance
Sherriff Mustapha Dibba - National Convention Party
Hamat Bah - National Reconstruction Party
Sidia Jatta - People's Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism

It sees the current president, the leader of a military coup in 1994 being opposed by a civilian coalition opposed to any vestige of military rule.

The incident in which one youth died was monitored by a group of British Members of Parliament, in the Gambia as election observers.


According to an MP, the election violence involved a police officer shooting an unarmed opposition demonstrator.

The outside world knows this country as a sleepy tourist resort.

Gambia's President Yayha Jammeh
President Jammeh seized power in 1994
But that's not just a caricature.

This is indeed a quiet place.

In this election, President Yahya Jammeh, a now retired military man who staged a coup d'etat in 1994, is facing a coalition of civilian politicians who say Mr Jammeh remains a dictator, despite his new civilian clothes.

President Jammeh says he overthrew a lazy and corrupt government in 1994 and he maintains that his record over the last seven years shows that he can give the Gambia the economic development it so desperately needs.

The presidential election promises to be a close race.

Most Gambians are hoping that the political tensions here will not escalate into further violence.

Politcal campaigning ended on Tuesday night.

British MP Roger Gale
"I have personally witnessed the body"
See also:

04 Oct 01 | Africa
Violence mars Gambia campaign
23 Aug 01 | Africa
Gambia kicks out British diplomat
11 Apr 00 | Africa
Protests at Gambia killings
18 Dec 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
George W's African adventure
21 Aug 01 | Africa
Gambia hit by pre-poll fever
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