The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Senegalese authorities to investigate allegations that Gambian intelligence agents have been harassing Gambian journalist Yahya Danfa currently living in exile in Senegal. Danfa, who fled the Gambia last year, was visited recently by three Gambian agents who tried to drive off with him.
“We are very concerned by these serious allegations that Gambian agents are targeting Yahya and we fear for his safety,” said Gabriel Baglo, the Director of IFJ Africa Office. “The Senegalese government should investigate this matter and the activities of foreign agents quickly and, in the meantime, ensure our colleague’s safety.”
On Monday three plain clothes agents of the NIA visited a house where Danfa was living in the capital of Senegal, Dakar. They did not identify themselves but Danfa recognized at least one of them as an NIA officer in Banjul, Gambia. The agents questioned the journalist and his neighbours and then tried to persuade Danfa to accompany them in their vehicle. They left after the journalist called for help fearing they intended to abduct him.
Since his arrival in Senegal, Danfa says, he has been receiving death threats on his mobile phone from Gambian numbers. He was told by the callers that that they knew what he was doing and where he was living in Dakar and that they will “finish him.”
On October 6, Danfa, a journalist with Foroyaa newspaper in The Gambia, was arrested and released after 48 hours in jail for alleged ‘spying’ along with two Amnesty International staff and their driver. Danfa later fled the country after persistent harassment and threats made against himself and his family by the NIA.
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The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries worldwide