FAJ Urges Gambian Government to End Silence over Whereabouts of Missing Journalist

The leadership of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the African group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), today met Gambian Justice Minister Edward Gomez to demand that his government break its silence over the whereabouts of journalist Chief Ebrima Manneh who disappeared in 2006.

The FAJ President Omar Faruk Osman and his Vice President Foster Dongozi challenged the minister, who is also the government's Attorney General, to reveal where the missing journalist is following the minister's recent declaration that Chief Manneh is alive.

Minister Gomez claimed that his government is a victim of a smear campaign designed to ‘tarnish its image'. He accused Manneh of "stage-managing his disappearance for mischievous reasons." He alleged that Chief Manneh left the country and the government has evidence from Interpol that the journalist went to the US but he did not specify the destination city.

"We challenged the minister to provide the evidence from Interpol and he promised to make it available to us during this session," said Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President. "Until we receive and verify the alleged Interpol report, we shall maintain our demand to the Gambian government for the release of Chief Manneh."

The meeting took place in Banjul on the sidelines of the ongoing NGO Forum, which is preceding the 50th Ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR).

Members of African human rights community attended the meeting between minister Gomez and the leaders of FAJ and witnessed the exchanges during their discussions.

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FAJ represents over 50.000 members in 44 African countries