State House ‘Unaware’ of Gambia’s Request for UN to Probe Journalist’s Disappearan

Monday, February 13, 2012
The office of The Gambia’s president, Yahya Jammeh is ‘unaware’ of any request made by The Gambia for the United Nations to investigate the disappearance of a Gambian journalist, the director of press at State House told The Daily News on Friday 10 Feb.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay is quoted by media reports on Friday as saying: “In response to civil society complaints about the disappearance of a journalist in The Gambia, the president of The Gambia asked for the U.N. to come in and investigate.”
Reports say Pillay did not go into details of the request nor did she name any particular journalist. But it is widely believed that she was referring to the missing Gambian journalist, Chief Ebrima Manneh of The Daily Observer newspaper.
“Where is the source of the report? As far as we are concern no such report has reached us. We did not receive any confirmation to that effect from the office of the Secretary General or from any other source. We are not aware of it and cannot confirm it,” said Modou Saidy, director of press and public relations at the office of the president.
Journalist Manneh disappeared under mysterious circumstances since July 7, 2006. He was reportedly picked up by plain clothes state security agents. Though he was reportedly sighted on two occasions at a hospital and at Sare Ngai police station - in December 2006 and in July 2007 respectively - under security escort, the government of President Jammeh repeatedly denied having Chief Manneh in custody.
Both president Jammeh and his vice Isatou Njie-Saidy suggested that the journalist might have died in an attempt to go to Europe for greener pastures. However, The Gambia’s former justice minister, Edu Gomez revealed that journalist Manneh was alive somewhere. He refused to disclose Manneh’s whereabouts, though in a separate revelation, he is quoted as saying that Manneh went to the U.S.
Meanwhile, Gambia government is yet to honour the Abuja based ECOWAS court’s judgement to release and compensate the journalist for illegally detaining him. Journalist Manneh’s case is one of the many attacks – some deadly ones – in a country where journalists work under a hostile environment.

Author: Saikou Ceesay
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