According to a press release issued by the GPU, Mankajang's whereabouts were unknown until the journalist' relatives confirmed visiting him in a police cell in the town of Banjulinding on 22 September. A police spokesperson at the time told the GPU that he could not confirm the reason for the arrest of their colleague. On the same day, members of the union's executive visited the Anti-Crime headquarters in Banjulinding. However, they were not allowed to meet with Mankajang.
On 23 September, the journalist was released on bail and charged with 'interference with witness'. Mankajang is expected to report to the Police Anti-Crime Unit on 25 September.
Mankajang travelled to the town of Diouloulou, in southern Senegal, to investigate the killing of two police officers on 12 September in The Gambia.
The GPU called on the police to respect the rights of Gambian citizens to freely receive, impart and express themselves as guaranteed by the 1997 Constitution and other international and regional instruments that the Gambian government has signed and ratified. The union called on the police to either charge Mankajang or release him.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: "Journalist Mankajang has committed no wrongdoing in investigating and interviewing people close to the suspect's entourage in the case of the killed police officers. His detention is an act of intimidation by the police to prevent citizens from knowing more details about this case. The authorities must drop all charges against Mankajang and allow him to carry out his professional duties without any form of intimidation.
For more Information, please contact the IFJ - Africa Office
1st Floor, Maison de la Presse, 5 Rue X Corniche, Medina,
BP 64257, Dakar, Senegal
Tel: +221- 33 867 95 86/87; Fax: +221- 33 827 02