Archive for the ‘News’ Category

NYAW NYING, GAMBIA’S GREATEST MUSICAL TALENT, PASSED AWAY

January 28, 2015
Reads :1363
THE LATE NYAW NYING

THE LATE NYAW NYING

From Allah we are from, to Him we shall return. Nyaw Nying has gone into blissful eternal sleep. The Gambian music industry on 27th January 2015 lost a great musical talent in Nyaw Nying. Momodou Nying fondly revered as Nyaw is widely regarded as one the greatest and talented drummers in Gambia’s history. Son to a famous Wolof Griot drummer, Mam Samba Nying, Nyaw broke tradition by stepping into contemporary music. He became a formidable band member of the famous Ifang Bondi, one of Africa’s first bands to combine pop music with African roots.  His two songs, “Taalibe” and “Sunyu Metit” are featured on Ifang Bondi album “Sanjo”. Nyaw served with distinction as he not only served as a drummer extraordinaire but also a percussionist and a great vocalist.

Nyaw was one of the founding members of the defunct Karantaba Jazz Band which was founded and managed by the legendary Bai Janha, one of the finest guitar players ever to come out of Africa. Bai and Nyaw were as close as his sister Sirra Bigay Nying, also a drummer, is married to Bai Janha. Nyaw is reported to have played a pivotal role in helping Karantaba band win a prestigious prize in an African festival organized by former President of Libya, Col Muamar Gadhafi. Following the defunct of Karantaba, Nyaw went on to join Jaliba Kuyateh, Gambia’s crowned king of Kora and became the Kumareh Band’s drum kit master until his untimely demise.

He extensively travelled around the world with Jaliba Kuyateh and the Kumareh Band performing at musical jamborees in France, the Netherlands, UK, USA, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Guinea Bissau, Senegal etc. He was a major force at the Kumareh Band recollects Lamin Jassey, Jaliba Kuyateh’s promoter in the UK. “The demise of Nyaw Nying is a great loss to the Kumareh band, the Gambia music industry and the fans of Jaliba music. The man was a very dedicated, discipline and hardworking member of the band. He is also a man of few words who does not even hurt a fly, much more his fellow human being. I can confess that He was very much admired by Jaliba for his outstanding skills and distinguished good character”, Jassey narrated.

Nyaw was happily married with two wives and survived by children. One of his sons, Samba Nying is said to be an excellent drum kit master just like his late father. Recently at a music festival in Venezuela, he captivated the hearts and minds of his audience with the way he played the drum kit at such a young age. Many believed it is all not lost with the demise of Nyaw as his son is set to keep the legacy of his father alive. The former Kumareh band drummer will be laid to rest today at 5.00pm Gambian time in New Jeshwang. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

 

THOUSANDS OF GAMBIANS CONVERGE AT WESTMINISTER ABBEY TO DENOUNCE DICTATOR JAMMEH

January 27, 2015
Reads :2513
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”.

Gambian film-maker faults state monopoly for poor movie industry

January 25, 2015
Reads :523
Ebou Waggeh , courtesy of standard.gm

Ebou Waggeh , courtesy of standard.gm

Ebou Waggeh, the executive director of Wax Media and Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards judge, has ascribed the lamentable state of the country’s movie industry to state monopoly of TV rights and stinging dearth of support to film makers.

In an exclusive interview with The Standard, he said: “Filmmaking is about storytelling, casting and technical execution. It is a creative art and no one has monopoly of that as we are all endowed with creative abilities. However, some of us are more inclined to tap into our creativity than others. In places within our sub region where filmmaking has seen development such as Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Burkina Faso, training institutions, film festivals and television broadcast stations have been in existence for decades. These are three platforms on which successful film industries ride. As a country we do have our fair share of those creative minds. Just listen to the lyrics of our young music rappers. Craftily coining local and English language words that rhyme and make sense can only be the work of a creative mind.

“However, challenges faced by the filmmaking sector in The Gambia are more critical than that. They range from the lack of adequate capacity both technical and human to the lack of support and incentives. Unlike writers, musicians and painters who may need little resource to demonstrate their talent, a filmmaker needs at least a camera, cast and editing facilities not to talk of sound and lighting equipment before he or she can show her creativity. In the absence of cinema halls in The Gambia, television has become the only platform left to showcase those creations. The programme policy at the only TV station in the country, GRTS, is not encouraging. The national broadcaster charges independent producers airtime fee to show their material.”

He added: “That arrangement even rules out legal rights of the producer to intellectual property royalties. We hope new dispensations linked to the National Council for Art and Culture will look into this matter and apply the provisions of the NCAC Act on 70 percent local content on radio and TV. In addition to that, we hope that the important matter of opening up the television broadcast market in The Gambia by the government will be considered due, after 19 years of a single television channel in the country. Additional licensed private channels will only go to open up job opportunities, increase domestic viewership and create pride in and appreciation for what we have in the country. In a country with low literacy rate, pictures in which we all are literate, are the most effective medium to use in communication and storytelling.”

Source: standard.gm

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

January 22, 2015
Reads :2192
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 :1586
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.

CORRIGENDUM: FORMER GAMBIAN RADIO PRESENTER NOT SENTENCED TO 22 YEARS

January 20, 2015
Reads :1665
Kibaaro Got It Wrong: Mr Thomas was not sentenced to 22 years

Kibaaro Got It Wrong: Mr Thomas was not convicted or sentenced to 22 years

On 16 December 2014, Kibaaro published an article under the heading: “FORMER GAMBIAN RADIO PRESENTER SENTENCED TO 22 YEARS”; referring to former Radio One FM host Modou Thomas, who Kibaaro reported had been convicted and sentenced to 22 years for extortion of sex from 2 women. It has since been brought to Kibaaro’s attention that it had described and identified the wrong Mr Thomas in the story and picture.

Though, Kibaaro retracted the article on 23 December 2014, after the mistake was brought to Kibaaro’s attention, Kibaaro nevertheless deemed it necessary to set the records straight with this corrigendum for its wider readers to be notified that Mr Thomas has never been convicted and sentenced to 22 years imprisonment for extortion of sex from women, as was reported.

Kibaaro therefore profoundly apologise to Mr Thomas, his family and friends for the embarrassment caused by its story.

It further seize this opportunity to thank them for their understanding of the mistake made.

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