See also:
» 22.09.2010 - ECOWAS torture case against The Gambia nears an end
» 16.02.2010 - Gambia expels UNICEF envoy
» 03.11.2009 - "Strip Gambia off AU human rights body"
» 09.10.2009 - UN experts raise concern on Gambia's threats of rights defenders
» 02.06.2009 - US senators petition Gambia in missing journalist's case
» 24.04.2009 - ECOWAS asked to intervene on the missing journalist case
» 19.03.2009 - Court releases opposition leader
» 12.03.2009 - Gambian opposition formally charged

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Human rights | Media

Missing Gambian journalist found

afrol News, 15 January - After five months of being at pain, the family of The Gambia's missing journalist at last heave a sigh of relief that Chief Ebrima Manneh is still alive. He was seen at a regional police station in Fatoto, over 400 kilometres east of the capital Banjul.

Mr Manneh, a journalist of pro-government 'Daily Observer' newspaper, went missing on 7 July last year. Plain clothed officers of the feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA) were reported to have arrested Mr Manneh at the premises of the 'Daily Observer'. Officers of both institutions have repeatedly denied such claims.

After his arrest, it is reported that he was first detained at the headquarters of the NIA before being transferred to Mile II Central Prisons. He was later moved to police cells in Kartong, Sibanor, Kuntaur and finally Fatoto where he spent three months three weeks.

Gambian authorities have not disclosed the reasons for Mr Manneh's arrest and subsequent detention, despite being confronted several times by his family members.

His arrest was said to be linked to a feature authored by a BBC correspondent on the African Union (AU) summit held in Banjul. "Chief's efforts to reproduce the said feature was aborted, as Observer authorities cancelled the printed pages and went ahead to inform NIA that he is a saboteur to the ruling party," said a source at the 'Observer', disclosing that this followed Mr Manneh's arrest the following day.

His arrest and disappearance have become a cause for concern for both human rights and media activists who have been pilling pressures on The Gambia government to either charge Mr Manneh or release him unconditionally.

An educationist, Tamba Fofana, who had also gone missing for some months, was discovered at a police station in the provinces. He too had been detained at various police stations across the country.

These developments came on the heels of several attacks and closure on the private media in The Gambia by the government, the latest being 'The Independent', whose editor, manager and reporter were tortured by the security agents, who also sealed the popular paper.

Informed sources also said that former Director of National Intelligence Agency, Daba Marena, is still languishing in Mile II Central Prison, although in critical conditions. On 5 April, the government reported that Mr Marena and four others accused of perpetrating the alleged 21 March coup attempt took to their heels after their vehicle somersaulted while they were being transferred to a regional prison.

Since then, many people have accused the government of summarily executing these men.

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