- Guinea-Bissau journalists - Allen Yéro Embalo, Alberto Dabo, Eva Maria Auzenda Biague and Fernando Jorge Pereira - have gone into hiding after they were threatened by top military officers.
Bissau authorities were not the least happy about the journalists’ reportage on how the country has been turned into a transit point by drug smugglers.
A human seasoned human rights defender, Mario Sa Gomes, who publicly called for the dismissal of civilian and military officers involved in the drug trade, also feared his life and went into hiding.
The fear of torture being tortured by lawless and cruel soldiers forced the five to go into hiding. Since Guinea-Bissau is without prisons, the wanted journalists and human rights defender would have been held in military installations.
Amnesty International condemned the act and expressed concern over the safety the five hiding people, petitioning the Bissau government to commit itself to human rights.
The journalists, who work for the BBC, Radio France International and Agence France Presse, published reports implicating high-ranking civilian and military officials in the drug trafficking.
Angered and disturbed by the reports filed by the journalists, top military officials spoke on the national radio, asking them to make a public retraction of their stories. Upon refusal to comply with their demands, military officers then asked the journalists to report to the nearest police station.
Mario Sa Gomes, who works for the national NGO Human Rights League of Guinea-Bissau, on 11 July said immediate dismissal of civilian and military officials implicated in the drug trafficking in the country would have been the most effective way to tackle the menace in Guinea-Bissau.
The chief of the army asked Gomes to apologise publicly, but he refused. An arrest warrant was then issued against him.
The hiding journalists have been pestered and threatened by the military after they exposed how some high-ranking civilian and military officials were involved in drug trafficking. The United Nations 2007 World Drug Report described Guinea-Bissau as a major trafficking and transit point for cocaine.
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