Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

THOUSANDS OF GAMBIANS CONVERGE AT WESTMINISTER ABBEY TO DENOUNCE DICTATOR JAMMEH

January 27, 2015
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LONDON DEMONSTRATORS

LONDON DEMONSTRATORS

GAMBIAN NONCONFORMIST

GAMBIAN NONCONFORMIST

Gambian nonconformists across Africa, Europe and America have dotted Monday 26 January 2015 as a day of hailing their fallen heroes who met their untimely demise during the Banjul failed coup on 30th December 2014 and most importantly to unequivocally decry Africa’s most heinous dictator-President Jammeh- who continues to unapologetically disregard the due process with impunity. The UK based Gambians protest against Dictator Jammeh’s brutality in front of the Parliament Building, Westminister Abbey; London is a full house success. It locked steps in closed order with a week-long memorial tribute of the fallen heroes whose departed souls received immense prayers from all callers and donors. Funds were also raised in support for their loved ones particularly spouses and siblings. Some of the funds raised will equally be used to subsidise legal fees for Cherno Njie and Papa Faal who are standing trial in America for their alleged involvement in the Banjul failed coup.  

BAMBA SERING MASS-GAMBIA'S EDWARD SNOWDEN

BAMBA SERING MASS-GAMBIA’S EDWARD SNOWDEN

The week-long “Memorial Tribute to the Martyrs” was collectively structured and co-ordinated by Solicitor Yankuba Darboe, Bamba Sering Mass, Demba Baldeh, Momodou Krubally, Lamin Tunkara, Fatou Camara, Banka Manneh, Ndey Jobarteh, Sigga Jagne, Yusupha Cham, Omar Joof, Coach Pa Samba Jaw, Pata PJ, Juka, Omar Bah, Ousainou Mbenga, and Nanama Keita. All programmes were jointly aired by Faturadio, Gainako, Banjul focus, Jollofnews, Kibaaro and Gambia Daily online radios. Its objective was to pay homage to the gallant freedom fighters who forsake all worldly gains, pleasures and their priceless buoyant young lives to liberate the Gambia from the shackles of a vicious tyrant. One of the greatest landmarks of the memorial was knitting together the broken pieces of the struggle. Shortly after it was confirmed that President Jammeh has returned to Banjul and captioned the freedom fighters as terrorists, the struggle suffered a denting blow under its belt. Radio Kankan broke from hell and the devil reign for a while. As usual, voices of reason stepped in and restored normalcy.

The London demonstration was the brainchild of Bamba Sering Mass and Solicitor Yankuba Darboe both siblings of the Kibaaro family. Pa Modou Bojang, Kibaaro Radio manager, who covered the event live for Kibaaro radio described the turnout as the “largest ever held in London”. He went on to reveal that demonstrators want to reclaim the Gambia from its dictator and restore democracy, rule of law and freedom of speech. He cited examples where freedom of assembly is a no go area for any Gambian but supporters of the Dictator. Opposition supporters are persecuted for assembling without police permit.  The highly determined protestors defied the cold English weather and stood their ground a stone throw from 10 Downing Street chanting, “We are human beings too. End dictatorship now. Yahya Jammeh must go. The killing must stop. Yahya Jammeh is the terrorist“. Amidst the defiant demonstrators was Ebrima Ismaila Chongan, a true son of the Gambia to the core. Introducing him to Pa Modou, Bamba described Chongan as a Gambian household name who was the only service chief he stood and resisted the 1994 military junta. Mr Bojang began by asking him why they were demonstrating.

“We are demonstrating for the obvious reasons, that is, the things happening in our country-the Gambia where there is democratic deficit. We want to see democracy and the rule of law restored in the Gambia so that everybody will have an equal say in the affairs of the state. We are also looking for the opposition parties in the Gambia to work together in order to have three conditions: 51% constitution mandate for election victory, equal access to the media by all parties and a vibrant free and fair electoral process. Moreover, to have free and fair elections and anybody who wins is respected. But what is happening now is obvious. No one can say anything. There is no freedom of expression. That is all we are asking for. We are Gambians and we have a right. Furthermore, we in the diaspora should also have a vote”, Chongan accentuated.

“How will this demonstration achieve these lofty ideals?”  Pa Modou tested Chongan.  “This demonstration aims to showcase to our compatriots who are in the Gambia that we have to fight for our freedom of expression. We have seen recently in Sri Lanka which used to have a very strong man as a leader who was defeated through the ballot box. So we can also do it in the Gambia if only the opposition comes together. Right now what  is paramount is not a leadership issue, that is, who will lead the opposition but coming together as a precondition to demand real conditions for free and fair election”, he emphasised.

“Do you hope this can be achieved by this demonstration?” Mr Bojang further challenged the veteran nonconformist and former police chief. “This demonstration raises awareness so that our people become conscious and take control of their own destiny. Before Gambians, even those in the diaspora, were afraid to grace protests against the Banjul tyrant but now a lot of those who were scared are coming out in great numbers. Look at the crowd. It delivers awareness to the doorsteps of Gambians and friends of the Gambia on what is happening in the Gambia”, asserted Chongan.

Other prominent speakers include a female protestor and solicitor Kabirou Darboe. “We want Yahya Jammeh to go. We don’t need him. He does not belong to a peaceful country like the Gambia. Britain must act”, she demanded. Solicitor Darboe was first quizzed to state his reason for demonstrating. “The reasons why we are here is no secret especially when it comes to the Gambia”, he began and continued to add, “We have a terrible situation in the Gambia. The situation is very close to that of Hitler’s Germany. Albeit the Gambian one is yet to cross its breaking point, the conditions are heinous. We are not exaggerating anything here”. “Are you convinced that Banjul is aware of the demonstration in London?” queried Mr Bojang. “Well, it is already there. Honestly, it is there. I was listening to Faturadio this morning and people in the Gambia were sending messages and calling to enquire when is the demonstration starting in London. They are listening and keeping an eye on what is happening. They cannot do it over there. They are depending on us.  This is precisely why I always maintain that when you live in the diaspora and you fail to appear on such protests; you are not only letting down yourself but also your people and country. I hope Britain will use this to show the Gambia government that her people are not happy”, solicitor Darboe stated.

Finally, Pa Modou asked if Solicitor Darboe thinks Britain will emulate America in declaring the Gambia as a friendly nation. “No”, he replied without mincing words. “I don’t think so. Britain will never do that. Britain has always shown many times its disapproval of the dictatorship in Banjul. Removing their embassy in Banjul speaks volume. Our relationship is no longer what it used to be. It is now a mere marriage of convenience. Britain will never call Gambia a friendly nation under a dictator’s captainship. Even though America did, it is but a diplomatic rhetoric.  America is not projecting to the world that it is in love with the Gambia but just to tell the world that they are not at war with the Gambia.  However, America should be mindful of her choice of words when talking about dictators like Jammeh who is constantly craving for America’s recognition and acceptance”.

SHERIFFO, THE BARD BECOMES MINISTER OF WORDS

January 25, 2015
Reads :1655
AJA DR MADAM N MANSA APPAI

AJA DR MADAM N MANSA APPAI

SHERIFFO-MINISTER OF BARD WORDS

SHERIFFO-MINISTER OF WORDS

From Bakau Farokono to Brikama Satabakono, the gods of optimism have taken charge. Sheriffo, the bard with words that is the truth has been appointed the minister responsible for words. Mansa appai has one final word to make very clear. But not even his loyal interpreter, the Alhagie from Ndofen, knows the right words to convey the message. Yea, it’s gonna be good news!

But the first task of the new minister for Words is to tell Appai that he doesn’t have to use let-me-make-one-thing-very-clear a dozen times in one speech. And to inform Aja Dr Madam Indeed that she no longer has monopoly over the word indeed. Yea, I too, can use it, indeed. And to tell the minister for Back-to-the-land that the thing that he caresses on his wrist is called watch. But if it is a Rolex, he should remove it and wear Casio. Appai dictated that no minister should know the word Rolex until the year of the Vision.  Ndeisan, I have lost my Sheriffo to the village council. I call him Sheriffo because I don’t know his name. He’s called Sheriff but etymologically, Sheriff refers to descendants of Muhammed Mustapha. He’s indeed named after one, but does that make him one? Perhaps, Sheriffo, yes, and that’s a compromise, given that my fellow ‘Nko’ people have the easiest rule in borrowing words from other languages. That is, simply add letter O after the last letter of every borrowed word. Such that the Wolof word ‘benachin’ (shh) becomes ‘benachino’ and the English word book becomes ‘booko’. Smile I often do whenever I am called ‘journalisho’.

But why am I making much ado over what his name is or is not? After all, what’s in a name? Belie, if I ever am asked, I would make one thing very clear! Yes, I would say ‘a Rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, but the trouble is, human beings are not flowers. And, according to Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, ‘its identity would no longer be expressed in terms of roses but instead would assume that of the new name’. The writer himself has abrogated his baptised name James Thiong’o because it was ‘colonialist’ and embraced the name given to him at birth by his Giguyu parents, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. Then, what’s in a name? When the 16 century king of Congo, Nzinga Mbemba – baptised Dom Alfonso – sent appeals for modern doctors from Portugal, they sent him Portuguese names. New names were forced onto slaves from Africa and the story was told of how our own Kunta Kinteh was persecuted for refusing to accept to be called who he was not. Moreover, when Daniel Defoe’s fictional Robinson Crusoe landed on the Island of Guinea, he soon gave the man whose life he saved a new name.

“And first I let him know that his name should be Friday, which was the day I saved his life. Likewise I taught him how to say master and then let him know that was to be my name.”  Crusoe did not know the name of the man and didn’t bother to ask. This man he named Friday no longer carries any memory of previous identity.  Not just Africans, other people too suffer similar onslaught on their institution of names. Japanese names were imposed on Koreans when Japan occupied them in 1906. In fact, all seemed to be reading from the script of the 16 century British poet and colonial administrator, Edmund Spenser, whose deliberate policy of obliterating the Irish memory and identity through interference with their naming system is vividly captured in the following lines of his:  “That from thenceforth each one should take unto himself several surnames, either of his trade or faculty of some quality of his body or mind… whereby they shall not only depend upon the head of their sept as now they do, but shall also in short time learn quite to forget his Irish nation. And therewithal would I also wish all the Oes and Macs, which the heads of the septs have taken to their names to be utterly forbidden and extinguished.”

The question persists: What’s in a name? From the foregoing, it appears that names have everything to do with how we identify, classify, and remember nouns and pronouns? If so, how would Sheriffo, called by any other name, be identified, classified and remembered? I wonder. Would he still be the bard with the word? I doubt not! When 17 century British poet and essayist, John Milton, scolded the British Monarch to grant greater space for the exercise of the right to freedom of speech, his fellow Gambian essayist, Sheriffo, got his drift. For when he told a church leader to be mindful that the truth he was standing on might break under his feet, he was simply telling that man of God that his thought that he thought was the Gospel truth, must have the power to get itself accepted by the shoppers in the competition of Milton’s metaphoric marketplace of ideas.

For 20 plus years, he has fought against any attempt to monopolise the truth, allowing everyone, from ‘kings to crocodiles’, to bring their views to the table. And, in what was to be his last essay before joining the village council, he even told Mansa Appai that he had to say what had to be said, and he feared his head could be cut. But Appai is a smart man. He did not cut his head for that will be too much blood. But by making him minister responsible for all his words in the village, will Appai not cut Sheriffo’s tongue? Or, was that not the message Madam Indeed put across to him when he told him that ‘you were in the private sector, now you’re in the government’ and these are two different working spaces. And then, the minister for the promotion of girls’ education did not even mince her words when she told him that he must use all the words he knows to launder the damaged image of the country. Since Sheriffo accepts to be called Honourable This and Honourable That, there’s not much option for him.

Ndeisan, I have lost my Sheriffo to the village council. Who will now tell Mansa Appai that the gods are angry with him whenever he offends them? Will I ever see him polishing the shoes of his employees or cleaning the dishes and glasses after lunch or brunch? Yes, he was that humble! Oh, Sheriffo has a new name: Minister Bojang. What’s in this new name? Will Sheriffo called by this name still be the bard? The last time I met him, I saw him eating using the same spoon he’d been using before assuming his new name. He still walks and laughs in his styles. But he also has something that was not there before he assumed his new name: a policeman. When I wrote the fiction ‘Bachelors By Choice’ he averred that I was referring to him and threatened me that he would send his policeman after me. I would have chickened out had he not laughed it off. Names, therefore, have everything to do with how we identify, remember and classify nouns and pronouns.

Ndeisan, I have lost my Sheriffo to the village council. Baffled I was when his phone was inundated with telephone calls and SMSs. I know some of the congratulators believed that life in the village council is not for someone like him, yet they congratulated him. Not that they had been the devil’s advocate, but they’ve learned so much lessons from others who’d been there before him. Appai keeps very few of his yesterday’s friends. Whether the congratulations were typical Gambian courtesy or genuine expression of happiness for him, I don’t know. I was tempted to betray my instinct and jump and join the chorus and tell him how happy I was for him, but I could not.  I stood at a distance, the feeling of happiness and anxiety simultaneously running through. I was like a woman who watches her man leave for a battlefield, hoping that he returns with every flesh in his body intact. Obviously, like Achebe said of dictatorship, you like a martyr only when he’s not your husband, for no woman wants to deal with the loneliness. If only you know what occupied my thought, then you’ll understand why I felt so. Death, they say, causes loneliness and for us journalists, not all of our members are leaving us the way Lalo Samated did. Baboucarr Gaye and Sanna Manneh have regrettably gone. The Swaebous have done their bit and the Sheriffos who have taken from them are in acute shortage. Most of them have been forced to go to ‘Woula’. We’re suffering from loneliness! The ‘Bantangbas’ are falling and when they all did; the birds will likely be disarrayed.

After many sleepless nights, my oracle finally arrived with this message:

Fear not, my child 

Born he was

In the royal house of Suma Kunda

Raised he was

In the glass house of Amadou Samba

And educated he was

In the knowledge house of Kenneth Best

I don’t need the power of clairvoyance to fathom the message. Sheriffo was born with everything handed to him. Neither money nor reputation motivated him to serve in the village council. But the oracle also asked me to remind him that:

Listen not, Sheriffo 

To those who say

My CV I will decorate

Yours is a task to fulfil 

Envy not, Sheriffo 

Those who say

My pocket I will fill

Yours is for others

Follow not, Sheriffo

To those who say 

Obey and complain

Yours is to do right

The following morning, I went to buy a TV only for the vendor to confront me: “We the people of Bakau love Sheriffo. If you want to have problem with us, just have problem with Sheriffo.” I wonder to whom this threat was directed. Then it occurred to me that it was not a threat, it was a simple message that came to me in my dream; to remind Sheriffo that anyone who knows him knows that he has nothing but the people. Now that he is with Mansa Appai, he also should still be with those people. There’s life after Mansa Appai and when that time comes, he will still be with the people. In fact, none could be more fitting than how Sheriffo himself poetically put it in his Dr Owl’s Song:

“Arise and warn and fear not a soul 

For you have the Word

And the Word is Truth!

In the beginning,

In the hour of Dikay,

There was the Word.

In the hour of Appai,

There is still the word.

And in the hour of The One

Who will come after Appai?

There will still be the Word.”

Courtesy of Standard.gm

“ARRESTING PEOPLE WITHOUT DUE PROCESS UNDERMINES A GOVERNMENT’S CREDIBILITY”, FOROYAA TELLS DICTATOR JAMMEH

January 22, 2015
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HALIFA SALLAH OF PDOIS

HALIFA SALLAH OF PDOIS

A SOLDIER MANHADLING HIS VICTIM

A SOLDIER MAN-HANDLING HIS VICTIM

The armed attack on the state house on Tuesday 30 December 2014 led to the death of four of the attackers and the capture of one of them. It took eight days before an official statement was issued. Since then many readers have been asking Foroyaa questions about the incident and these questions keep surfacing over and over again. The following are some of the questions that readers keep asking:

  1. Was there any casualty on the side of Government? The official statement said nothing about this.
  1. How many persons have been arrested in relation to the incident? Readers say that they have only heard rumours or read in the newspapers about arrests and detentions but do not know the extent of these arrests and detentions.
  1. How many of the arrestees have been released?
  1. How many of these arrestees are members of the army? Some readers say that President Jammeh has indicated that members of the armed forces of The Gambia are not involved in the armed attack and would therefore like to seek clarification on rumours of members of the armed forces being arrested.
  1. Have relatives been having access to their loved ones in the army since the December 30 incident? Is it true that some relatives have received gifts from their loved ones without being able to see them since the December 30 incident? Some relatives have not heard from their loved ones since the incident. Readers want clarification.
  1. Why are relatives of suspects arrested? The constitution calls for an accountable government. It says in the preamble, “This Constitution provides for us a fundamental Law, which affirms our commitment to freedom, justice, probity and accountability.”

Furthermore, the constitution wants the government to derive its strength from the people and not to oppress them. It stipulates in section 1 subsection (2): “The Sovereignty of The Gambia resides in the people of The Gambia from whom all organs of government derive their authority and in whose name and for whose welfare and prosperity the powers of government are to be exercised in accordance with this Constitution.”

Hence to persist in arresting people without due process of law does not make a government strong; it can only undermine its credibility. Any semblance of strength of such government can only be short-lived.

Gambia Kicks Out German National despite Court Ruling

January 20, 2015
Reads :1585
Bern Georg Diedrich

Bern Georg Diedrich

The Gambia government acted with impunity by expelling Mr. Bern George Diedrich from the country despite winning a court case that established his rightful ownership to a plot of land. The German national bought land in Wullingkama, Kombo North District. After purchasing the land, came an executive order that he should vacate the land. He decided to take the matter to court and eventually ruling was made in his favor. The court ruled that Mr. Bern is the rightful owner of the said land and that no one should interfere with the land. Unfortunately for the German national Gambia has become a lawless country where the rule of might prevails over the rule of law.

The judicial establishment that Mr. Bern looked up to for protection of his property became helpless when officials of physical planning department accompanied by paramilitary personnel evicted him from his land. They didn’t only evict him from his rightful property but on top of that kicked him out of the country. This case  is clear manifestation of lack of independence of the judiciary in the Gambia. The country is ruled with an iron-fist by dictator Jammeh who has arrogantly declared on national television that the Gambia belongs to him. The case also reinforces the narrative that the injustice taking place in the Gambia deserves world attention for it is not only Gambians who are affected but foreign nationals as well.

HELP SAFE THE GAMBIA FROM DROWNING IN MAYHEM

January 19, 2015
Reads :2051
HALIFA SALLAH OF PDOIS

HALIFA SALLAH OF PDOIS

GAMBIA'S DELUSIONAL LEADER

GAMBIA’S DELUSIONAL LEADER

As we usher in the New Year 2015, the situation of detention without trial and disappearance without trace persist in The Gambia as more families are being deprived access or do not know the whereabouts of their loved ones for periods ranging from 17 days to 9 years. All the affected families, in one way or the other, have been wishing that they will be re-uniting with their long absent loved ones as we enter the New Year, but their long nurtured hopes have been dashed. Foroyaa have been featuring the long list of people who are still detained without any charge or court appearance as well as conveying the pleas of the affected families for the Gambian authorities to secure their release. These are husbands, fathers, mother, uncles, sons, and so on whose absence have caused untold psychological, physical and economic suffering to those they left behind. It includes those who disappeared nearly a decade ago to those who were recently arrested and detained in the wake of the 30 December 2014 attack on State House in the Gambian capital, Banjul. The victims are said to have been picked up by men in plain clothes, operatives of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and other sister security outfits across the country. The following are the detainees and the circumstances surrounding their arrests and subsequent detentions.

17 DAYS IN DETENTION

Mr Bai Jobe Njie, the father of Modou Njie, the captured ex-Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) soldier, alleged to be one of the insurgents who took part in the 30 December 2014 attack on the State House in Banjul, has been detained for 17 days now. He was picked up on Friday, 2 January 2015, at his residence in Tallinding Dumos, by two men in plain clothes and whisked away to an unknown destination. The family is calling on the concerned authorities to enable them to have access to him (Mr. Njie) and to secure his release, as he is the sole breadwinner of the family. He is a driver at the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC).

18 DAYS IN DETENTION

Meta Njie, the mother of Lt. Col. Lamin Sanneh, the alleged ringleader of the insurgents who staged the foiled December 30th 2014 attack on the State House in Banjul, has been detained for 18 days now. She was picked up on Thursday afternoon, 1 January 2015, at her residence in Fajikunda Dumos by four operatives from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), according to a family source. The family source added that Madam Njie is still detained at the NIA head office in Banjul and that they do not have access to her. He dismissed earlier reports that Lt. Col. Sanneh’s mother has been released, adding that the family is appealing to the authorities to release her.

Yusupha Lowe (13 years old), Pa Alieu Lowe (19 years old) and Jariatou Lowe, who are the son, younger brother and ex-wife respectively of Baboucarr ‘Bai’ Lowe, former Warrant Officer Class 2 of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), the alleged dissident based in Germany and insurgent involved in the 30 December 2014 attack on State House, have all been arrested and detained for 18 days now. According to a family source, the trio was picked up around 3pm at Lamin since 1 January 2015 by men in plain clothes who claimed to have their orders from the Office of the President and taken away in a waiting vehicle with tinted glasses. The family source indicated that they have since not returned home, adding that they are also concerned with the education of Yusupha, a minor, and Pa Alieu, who are both students that are still attending school. The source added that they do not have access to them or know the reason for their arrests.

Essa Bojang and Fatou Sonko, husband and wife, from Mbankam village in Nuimi, North Bank Region, have been in detention for 18 days now. They are the parents of the two ex-GAF military officers, Bakary Bojang and Dawda Bojang, who are alleged to be among the attackers of the December 30th, 2014, armed attack on State House in Banjul. The parents of these two former soldiers were reported to have been arrested at their home in Mbankam village since 1st January 2015 by two men who identified themselves as officers from the Amdalai Police Station. Family sources say the couple has not returned home since then and that they have gone to various police stations in search of the two, but to no avail.

Omar Malleh Jagne, said to be a brother of the former US army Captain Njagga Jagne, who was reported killed in the 30 December 2014 shooting near State House, is said to be missing for 18 days. He was said to have been picked up together with his nephew, Ebou Jagne, who is confirmed released on Sunday, 11 January 2015. However, Omar Malleh, who was arrested at his residence in Lamin, is still being detained.

69 DAYS IN DETENTION

Mr Ambu Drammeh, a mentally ill young man who was arrested and detained by men in plain clothes, is said to be held incommunicado at Mile Two prison. A magistrate of the Brikama court had earlier ordered Mr. Drammeh to be taken to the Tanka Tanka Psychiatric Hospital to undergo treatment. According to the family members, they have visited the Mile Two Prison on several occasions and the prison officials confirmed that he was there but that they were not allowed access to him. They revealed that the last time they visited the prison was on 25 November 2014 but were denied access to him by the prison officials. They added that the reason for his arrest and subsequent detention at Mile Two prison is not known to them. The family said they are appealing to the head of state to help secure the release of this mentally deranged young man from prison. It could be re-called that state security agents came to Ambu’s home in Farato before the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan in 2014, looking for him. The family members said security agents told them that the younger brother’s Birth Certificate and National Identity Card, together with a set of prayer beads and pair of shoes, were found at the Banjul International Airport where the presidential aircraft is parked. He said the agents waited for him until he returned home only to pick him up. He said after ascertaining facts on him, he was eventually released by the said authorities and he later returned home. The family members said less than a week after Ambu left for Kerr Pateh to take local treatment; the state security agents came for him again but they informed them that he had left for the village. According to the family, the security agents went to his village, picked him up, and later brought him to Police headquarters in Banjul. “We were told by the police that he was held there for only two days and then taken away. When we checked for him at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), we were told that he was not with them. We searched for him at the Brikama and Yundum police stations, as well as Tanka Tanka, but he was nowhere to be found,” narrated Ambu’s elder brother. They said since then they have no access to their loved one.

101 DAYS IN DETENTION

Mr Mambury Njie, a former Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, has spent 101 days in detention today. He is being held at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in Banjul and was even hospitalized while in detention. Mr Njie was arrested at his residence in Brusubi on Thursday, 9 October 2014, and taken to the NIA headquarters in Banjul where he has been held since. A family source indicated that they have access to him but that he is still not released or taken before a court. However, this last arrest and subsequent detention, among previous ones, came in the wake of Mr Njie’s acquittal and discharge on the two counts of economic crime and neglect of duty by Justice Mikailu Abdulahi of the Special Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul on 3 July 2014. He is being detained beyond the 72 hours which is mandated by the Constitution of the Republic of the Gambia. The family source said the reason for his arrest and long detention is still not known to them, adding that they are calling on the authorities to release their loved one.

144 DAYS IN DETENTION

Mr Seedy Jaiteh, a former Human Resource Director of Gamcel, is still under detention at Mile II prison for 144 days without court appearance, bail or release since on 27 August 2014. According to family sources, men in plain clothes believed to be state security agents, picked him up from his residence in Manjai Kunda on 27 August 2014, at about mid-night and whisked him away to an unknown destination. The men in plain clothes led Mr. Jaiteh in a waiting black tinted glass vehicle without registration number, a family source indicated. However, on Thursday, 28 August 2014, family members visited the NIA, the Police and NDEA but were told that Mr. Jaiteh was not in custody in any of the three places. During their searching, according to the source, he was eventually traced at the NIA headquarters in Banjul and that the family was initially allowed to be taking food to him but this was stopped on 2 September 2014. The source has indicated that the family has information that their loved one is being held at Mile II prison, but that they could not have access to him. The fifty two year old man is said to have two wives and a child.

245 DAYS IN DETENTION

Lieutenant Colonel Solo Bojang, the erstwhile Commander of the State Guards in Kanilai who was also former manager of the Kanilai Family Farms (KFF), is still under detention for 245 after being acquitted and discharged by the Brikama Magistrates’ Court on 12 May 2014. Family sources say that immediately after his release, he was seen being escorted out of the courtroom by men in plain clothes and whisked away to an unknown destination, since then he has not returned home. Lt. Col. Bojang was tried for four counts i.e. Abuse of office, false information, Conspiracy and Theft and was acquitted on three counts, but convicted on the false information charge and fined D50, 000, a fine that was paid, according to the family. The family is still calling on the state to help in ensuring the release of their breadwinner as they are going through very difficult times and are now desperate to see him.

MORE THAN 2 YEARS IN DETENTION

Mr Momodou Sowe, a former Protocol Officer at the State House in Banjul, also a native of New Yundum village in the West Coast Region, who was arrested and detained by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) on 3 December 2012 is still not released. His family has filed a case at the high court in pursuit of his release. The matter is now before the court.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 599 DAYS

Alhagie Mamut Ceesay and Ebou Jobe are two Gambian – US citizens who went missing on 22 June 2013 in Brusubi while on holidays in the Gambia. On the continued disappearance of the two US citizens in The Gambia since the middle of last year, the new Charge d’Affaires said it is the duty of the American government to protect American citizens wherever they are. “As far as I know they were picked up and disappeared and we have asked the Gambia government to investigate”, he said. He disclosed that they have even offered the services of the FBI to help in locating these two US citizens but the Gambia government has still not responded positively to their request.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 8 YEARS

Chief Ebrima Manneh, a Former State House Senior Reporter and Crime Watch Columnist of the Daily Observer, was picked up by security agents at his workplace in Bakau on 26 July 2006. Since then he has never been seen by his family members. The incident occurred immediately after the African Union Summit hosted by The Gambia. The father of Chief Manneh, who appeared desperate, said he had visited all the known security detention centres around the country without any trace of his son and had also approached personalities such as the then NIA Director General, Mr Harry Sambou; the then IGP, Mr. Ousman Sonko; the then State House Imam, Fatty and the Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy to help in the efforts to trace Chief Manneh, but to no avail. They conclude by calling the state to mount an investigation on their loved one, because they were very much traumatized about the disappearance of their breadwinner. The Media Foundation for West Africa had filed a case for the release of Chief Manneh at the Community Court of West Africa and the court ordered the Gambian state to release Chief Manneh and pay him compensation of $100,000 for unlawful detention. The response of the government after the judgment of the court is that they do not have Chief Manneh in their custody.

Mr Lamin Kanyi (alias Kanyiba Kanyi), a native of Jarra who was residing in Bonto village in Kombo East of the West Coast Region (WCR) and a former employee of the Christian Children Fund, (now Child Fund The Gambia), was abducted in the Gambia on 18th September 2006 by men in plain clothes believed to be security agents. His whereabouts are still not known to his family. According to family sources, Kanyiba was abducted around 9:00pm by three men who demanded to talk to him outside and that Kanyiba asked them to identify themselves and their mission which they refused to disclose. “The men in plain clothes then called a taxi driver who was some metres away from the scene. Within a twinkle of an eye, the taxi driver arrived and Kanyiba was forcefully pushed into the taxi and then whisked away in full view of his family, leaving the wife and family in tears”, said a family member. A family source further told Foroyaa that they have been traumatized and are seriously affected by the abduction and disappearance of their loved one since 2006. It was also revealed that at the time of Kanyiba’s forced disappearance, his wife was pregnant and later delivered a baby girl who is now 8 years old and attending school. The family said it is pleading with the head of state and his government to aid them in locating and securing the release of their loved one. It was also reported that his father died shortly after a visit to Kanilai to request for an audience with President Yahya Jammeh, but which was denied.

Three close friends,  Alhagie Momodou Lamin Nyassi, ex-Chief of Foni Kansala District Ndongo Mboob and Alhagie Buba Sanyang,  all natives of Bwiam village in the West Coast Region, went missing and never returned home since their arrest by men in plain clothes in a blue numberless tinted glass vehicle in 2006. According to sources, the former chief of Foni Kansala was arrested by plain clothes agents on Tuesday evening, 4th April 2006, whilst conveying his friend, Ndongo Mboob, who visited his house. The relatives of the disappeared persons told this reporter that they are traumatized and desperate to see their loved ones. According to them, they have visited all security detention centres in The Gambia, including Mile II Central Prisons, Janjanbureh Prison, NIA detention centre in Banjul and the Police headquarters, but that all these efforts proved futile. Alhagie Buba Sanyang (alias Bubai), was also picked up from his house on the same day by 3 plain clothes officers who informed him that he was wanted. The family said Bubai had just finished performing ‘Maghreb’ prayer when the men came for him. They said Bubai at that juncture handed over his mobile phones to his wife, and then the men whisked him away. The family added that up to date they have not seen or heard from him.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 9 YEARS

Mr Lamin Tunkara, a native of Kinteh-Kunda Marong Kunda in the Central Baddibu District of the North Bank Region (NBR), was reportedly arrested on 21st July 2005, by a combined team, comprising the CID (police), NIA agents and plain clothes officers, behind Albert Market in Banjul. The family said his house in Tallinding was ransacked by the said security agents who confiscated foreign denominations – CFA, US Dollars, Euros and Dalasi. The family also said Mr. Tunkara was detained at the Police headquarters in Banjul for few days and later at the Kairaba Police Station. His family said while in detention, he was accused of being an agent facilitating the journey of nationals through the “back way to Spain”. He was last seen at Kairaba Police Station and up until now family members have no clue of his whereabouts.

Mrs Masireh Jammeh, a former employee at the State House in Banjul and also a native of Kanilai, is still missing since July 15th 2005. The family said since then they have not seen or heard from her and do not also know where she is being held.

Jarsaja Kujabi, of Dobong village, in the Foni Kansala District, went missing since Wednesday, 27th of July 2005, after his house was ransacked by three plain clothes officers in a numberless Nissan 4 wheel vehicle with tinted glasses. Family sources told Foroyaa that they have not seen or heard from him since his disappearance in 2005. According to the family, Mr Kujabi was picked up from his farm and then taken to his house for him to change his clothes. The source said he told his family that he is going to answer but that they should not be bothered and that he was later whisked away.

Haruna Jammeh, the source further revealed that also went missing in the same evening, as he boarded the same vehicle that came to arrest Jarsaja. Since then they are nowhere to be seen or heard.

Courtesy of FOROYAA

THE ARMY FEELS BETRAYED AND ABANDONED BY JAMMEH

January 19, 2015
Reads :2349
UNCLE SIDI-A VOICE OF REASON

UNCLE SIDI-A VOICE OF REASON

THE DRACULA IN WHITE-DICTATOR JAMMEH

THE DRACULA IN WHITE-DICTATOR JAMMEH

In the wake of the 30Th December 2014 event that led to the executions of members of the external forces that allegedly attacked the State house in Banjul, Jammeh’s own forces are divided and the strain is showing all around. As suspicion spreads within the ranks, soldiers are on edge wondering when the next comrade in arms will be ‘fingered’ by a rival group within a divided military. The security and intelligence personnel are equally on edge.

The absence of the Commander-In-Chief from the battlefield on the 30th of December 2014 to the 2nd January didn’t only go unnoticed but has confirmed the suspicion of some of Jammeh’s cowardice and selfishness. Yahya Jammeh was in hiding while he sent his entire family to Rabat out of harm’s way, leaving the ‘loyalists’ to repel the attackers. The Commander-In-chief watching (actually hiding) from a safe distance has added to the troops resentment of him. As a source close to the military said “Jammeh’s only interest is to how long he can prolong his grip on power, but he knows this is the end of the road for him and his regime”.

Jammeh’s increasing reliance on mercenaries as part of his personal security detail, driven by his lack of trust of the Gambian military and security structure, has further complicated a delicate security condition, further exposing the fault lines. However, in his futile attempt to fend off the threat to his regime, he decided to release gruesome photos of his victims to serve as warning to the military and to instil further fear to an already traumatized civilian population. “It is rather late in the day for him to use scare tactics because the military’s patience has been stretched beyond its limits. Even Jammeh knows his days are numbered”, according to the same source.

Reacting to Mr Sanneh’s posting as per subject on his Facebook page, P Mendoza Garveyites remarked, “I cannot imagine how can our so-called soldiers, Captains, Colonels, Admirals, Lieutenants you name them; they all let this petty cripple a***hole in power till today. It wrenches my heart. Whenever I see his pictures I feel angry”.

“PMG it is because of greed and no sense of loyalty to the Gambia. They are paying and will continue to pay for it. You also have to remember that we don’t have a professional Armed Force anymore but a militia loyal to the dictator. Fundamentally we have to fight the Gambian habit of treachery”, Mr Ebrima Ismaila Chongan, a former Police Chief and the only officer who stood up against the 1994 Coupist, explained.

Source: Sidi Sanneh’s Blog

LESSONS TO BE DRAWN BY PRESIDENT JAMMEH FROM THE BANJUL FAILED COUP

January 18, 2015
Reads :1714
THE DRACULA IN WHITE-DICTATOR JAMMEH

THE DRACULA IN WHITE-DICTATOR JAMMEH

ABDOUL BADJIE-THE AUTHOR

ABDOUL BADJIE-THE AUTHOR

I do not subscribe to a violent and unconstitutional change of a government. Most often than not, it is women, children, the sick and old who bear the brunt of armed insurgences. Properties and lives will equally be lost beyond comprehension. In as much as I detest President Jammeh’s abysmal and autocratic rule, I vehemently condemned the failed Banjul coup. Leadership entails compassion, vision and consideration. A leader should not be vindictive for hatred mars objectivity thus leading to inappropriate judgement.

Primarily, as Allah fearing people, it is incumbent upon us to honour the dead even if they are our enemies. Lives had been lost during the 30th December 2014 attempted coup. The lost is national. Therefore treating them with contempt and disrespect will only ferment more dissent. An angry people often use force to settle their scores. Suffice it to say violence will reduce our beloved little deprived Gambia to rumbles. Common sense teaches that the continuous oppression of people boils into a potential volcanic hatred which when erupts causes devastating mayhem. To obstruct such an unwarranted saga, President Jammeh needs to learn a few home truths and act decisively.

Firstly, Jammeh need to appreciate the fact that not all Gambians agree to his policies and leadership. Consequently, he should be tolerant and accommodative particularly dissent views. He needs to see his critics as people who want to better him. Moreover, the random and unnecessary dismissals of civil servants, unlawful arrests and detention of both security personnel and civilians must cease immediately in the name of peace and reconciliation. The civil service is not a personal property of the President.

Furthermore, exercise and encourage freedom of expression. Let the media do its job without intimidation and callous state policing. Opposition parties must also enjoy same privileges and rights as the incumbent government such as equal air time on the state owned media, permits to hold political rallies and access to personal safety. Finally, you must put in place apparatus and structures that will provide equal opportunity to personal development, fair and non-biased access to national services regardless of political affiliation, religion and tribe.  President Jammeh do not run the Gambia like your personal property by deciding who should be arrested, detained and jailed. Call for a referendum which will change the presidential mandate to a maximum of two term limits. You previously accused Jawara of overstaying his welcome by 30 years rule. You are now into a 30 year rule so read the writings on the wall.