GPU-USA Disputes Gambian Police Claim on Missing Journalist
June 19, 2011
The Gambia Press Union-USA (GPU-USA) notes with regret and utter disgust statements made by Yankuba Sonko, The Gambia’s “so-called” Police Chief, regarding the disappearance of journalist Chief Ebrima Manneh. In a news story published by the Associated Press France (APF), Mr. Yankuba Sonko alleges that Chief Ebrima Manneh, who was arrested by National Security Agents on July 7, 2006, is reported by Interpol to be in the USA. Chief Ebrima Manneh who was kidnapped from the offices of The Daily Observer Newspaper where he worked, has not been seen since he was led away by “security agents” of the regime on that fateful July afternoon day in 2006. On my behalf as President of Gambia Press Union (GPU-USA), and on behalf of the GPU-USA governing executive and the GPU-USA’s membership, I categorically deny as false, Mr. Yankuba Sonko’s assertion that Chief Ebrima Manneh is in the USA. In a separate correspondence, I am sending Interpol a list of all the Gambian journalists who have taken refuge in the USA and I am further requesting Interpol to provide the GPU-USA with any evidence they have of Chief Ebrima Manneh’s presence in the US to help us locate him and reunite him with his family in Gambia. GPU-USA is almost certain that Interpol will not be able to provide us this information, because Chief Ebrima Manneh who is one of twenty known Gambians who disappeared since 2005-2006, following arrest by National Security Agency (NIA) agents, is not in the USA, and has never been.
GPU-USA finds Mr. Yunkuba Sonko’s statements absolutely reprehensible and insensitive to the traumatized family of Chief Ebrima Manneh, the Gambia’s media fraternity and the Gambian people. Since his forced disappearance in 2006, the Gambia media fraternity; GPU-Gambia, GPU-USA, Civil Society Associations-Gambia (CSAG), the Media Foundation for West Africa, (MFWA) Amnesty International (AI), Article 19, and other journalism and civil society organizations have asked for the release of Chief Ebrima Manneh from custody, but all our pleas have so far fallen on deaf ears. In 2008, The Media Foundation for West Africa sued the The Gambian regime at the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja, Nigeria, for the release of Chief Manneh. But in 2009, then “Attorney general and Justice Minister” Mrs Marie Saine-Firdaus denied Chief Ebrima Manneh detention, an irresponsible statement received with consternation by the Gambian public. And in 2011, following the unceremonious dismissal of Mrs. Firdaus, Mr. Edward Gomez, then new Attorney General and Minister of Justice, opined to a Daily News reporter, quote; “Now, let me tell you with a high degree of certainty that Ebrima Chief Manneh is somewhere,” but failed to say where. Since his forced disappearance, the regime has made some remarkably irresponsible statements about Chief Ebrima Manneh’s whereabouts. GPU-USA once again demands Chief Ebrima Manneh’s IMMEDIATE release and we ask our partners around the world to join us in issuing unequivocal condemnations of Mr. Yankuba Sonko’s irresponsible statements.
Mathew K Jallow
President, Gambia Press Union-USA
President, ECOWAS, Abuja, Nigeria
President, African Union, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Civil Society Associations-Gambia (CSAG)
Media Foundations for West Africa (MFWA)
Amnesty International, London, UK
Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Africa Desk, State Department
By sankaranko bojang on 12/19/2012
GAMBIAN FUGITIVES SHOULD BE AWARE THAT THE GAMBIA IS FOR GAMBIANS AND NOT FOR ANY OTHER NATIONALITIES.IF THEY FEEL THAT GAMBIANS ARE NOT FREE THEY SHOULD COME BACK HOME TO JOIN PEOPLE LIKE OMAR AMADOU JALLOW (O.J) WHO SINCE 1994 HAVE BEEN LIVING IN THE GAMBIA BECAUSE HE FELT THAT YOU CANNOT FIGHT A WAR IF YOU ARE NOT IN THE BATTLE FRONT.SO DO NOT BE CAWARDS. COME AND EDUCATE THE GAMBIANS IF YOU FEEL THAT JAMMEH IS NOT THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THE COUNTRY.WHY DO YOU FEAR JAMMEH? WE DO NOT FEAR HIM BECAUSE WE ARE TOGETHER WITH HIM.THE ARAB SPRING WAS NOT DONE OUTSIDE.EGPTIANS,TUNISIAN AND LYBIANS EDUCATE THEIR PEOPLE WHILE THEY ARE WITH THEM.YOU ARE OUTSIDE YOU WILL NOT COME YOYU ARE TELLING THOSE IN THE COUNTRY TO COME OUT AND MARCH AGAINST JAMMEH.WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU OUT SIDE.WE CANNOT FIGHT IN TYOUR ABSENT YOYU MUST COME WE FIGHT TOGETHER IF YOU ARE SURE WHAT YOYU ARE TELLING US IS THE TRUTH.