IFJ Calls on ECOWAS and African Union to Address Security of Journalists in the Gambia

The International Federation of Journalists

(IFJ) today has called on the Economic Community of West African States

(ECOWAS)  and the African Union (AU) to mobilize

and address the security of journalists after the arrests and detention in

communicado of a journalist in The Gambia.

 

 "Authorities in The Gambia must reveal

the whereabouts of journalist Abdoulie John and release him immediately. This journalist

was literally kidnapped yesterday by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). He

is in grave danger since he has been undertaking never ending questionings at

the NIA all these last two weeks. This is another press freedom violation in a

country where independent reporting is a crime since president Yaya Jammeh came

to power. ECOWAS and African Union must not allow this umpteenth

treachery," said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director.

 

 According to Gambian Press Union (GPU), an IFJ

affiliate, journalist Abdoulie John, editor of an online newspaper, Joloff

News, and Associated Press's stringer in The Gambia has been arrested on Monday

7th January 2013 by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). John was earlier in

the day summoned and accompanied by a GPU official to the NIA office to report

as required by the bail and the security forces.

 

 After a while at the NIA, Abdoulie John was

taken to his house at the outskirts of the capital city of Banjul where a

search was conducted, afterwards the officials of the NIA went away with him on

board a pickup car and since then he has not returned home. 

 

"This is more than a human

right violation, more than a moral torture of a journalist who has only done

his job in due respect of all protocols. We support our colleague and will hold

authorities in The Gambia responsible for anything that would happen to

him," added Baglo.

 

Abdoulie John was arrested for the

first the time on Sunday 9 December 2012 by security forces on the order of the

NIA after a confrontation with President Yaya Jammeh's personal photographer,

Sulaylan Gassama who reportedly insisted on knowing who had invited John to the

ceremony.

 

The incident took place in the

Gambian village of Tambakunda where John was covering the handing over of eight

Senegalese soldiers released after a 14-month detention by the rebels in the

South Casamance region. The NIA Director ordered security forces to arrest the

journalist who was later released on bail of 1500 US dollars on December 10 and

asked to report to the NIA every week.  

 

For more information, please contact IFJ:  +221 33 867 95 86

 The IFJ represents

over 600.000 journalists in 134 countries