25 January 2013

Gambia: Authorities Arrest Staff of Daily Observer Newspaper

press release

Officers of the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA) on January 18, 2013 arrested and detained three senior administrative staff of the Jammeh-controlled Daily Observer newspaper, as part of ongoing investigations into alleged corrupt practices and maladministration at the newspaper's office.

According to Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s sources in The Gambia, the three, Amie Manka, Marketing manager, Yasin Faal, Accountant and James Campbell, procurement officer were, however, released on a bail-bond on January 20 but had their travelling documents confiscated.

The arrest of the three comes weeks after Pa Malick Faye, self-exiled former managing director of the newspaper and currently on the wanted-list of the NIA was sacked by President Jammeh on January 3, 2013, over financial malpractices.

According to the sources, Faye's dismissal was also linked to a caption in the January 2, 2013 publication of the newspaper, which read: "The Execution was hypocritically blown out of proportion." The caption accompanied President Jammeh's New Year's message, published by the newspaper, where he defended his government's execution of nine death row inmates in August 2012.

President Yayha Jammeh continues to brutalize and order actions against staff of the paper each time a publication criticizes him as was the case of Chief Ebrimah Manneh, reporter with the Daily Observer, who was arrested in July 2006 by officials of the NIA. Manneh's whereabouts remain unknown and Jammeh's government continues to deny custody of him.

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