In marking the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of Chief Ebrima Manneh, the Gambia Press Union issued the following statement:
Today 7th July marks the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of Chief Ebrima Manneh of the Daily Observer.
Chief Manneh went missing on 7th July 2006 when he left home for his place of work at the Daily Observer premises in Bakau. Following his disappearance from public view, his father, Sarjo Manneh set out to look for his missing son and in the process went to various security installations, including the headquarters of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in Banjul. However, his relentless efforts bore naught as he could not trace him anywhere.
Sequel to this development, the Accra based Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) instituted civil action against the Gambia at the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja. In his testimony before the community court, a former staff of the Daily Observer, Pa Ousman Darboe, adduced that Manneh was arrested by personnel of the National Intelligence Agency at his place of work.
Testifying as a plaintiff witness, Yaya Dampha, a former reporter of the Foroyaa newspaper, informed the Community Court that while in the execution of his duties, he saw Chief Manneh at a station in Fatoto in the Eastern part of the Gambia.
In 2008, the ECOWAS Court of Justice made the following orders against Gambia;
- “That the Republic of The Gambia releases Chief Ebrimah Manneh, plaintiff herein from unlawful detention without any further delay upon being served with a copy of this judgment;
- That the human rights of the plaintiff be restored, especially his freedom of movement;
- The Republic of The Gambia pay the plaintiff the sum of one hundred thousand United States Dollars (US$100 000) as damages;
- The defendant to pay the costs of this action to be assessed”.
Few months after the Court delivered judgment in the case, the then Attorney General Marie Saine Firdaus told the National Assembly sitting in Banjul that Chief Manneh is not in the custody of the State.
In a meeting with publishers on 16th March 2011, the Gambian leader said his “Government is not responsible for the death of Chief Manneh”.
Subsequently after this, Mr Edward Gomez, the then Attorney General, told the Daily News that Chief Manneh is alive.
Later, the Inspector General of Police, Yankuba Sonko, informed the Standard newspaper that Interpol has informed the Gambia Police Force that Chief Manneh is in the United States of America.
Given the fact that the Gambian authorities have over the years made conflicting statements about the disappearance of Chief Ebrima Manneh, it is therefore important for them to open Judicial Inquiry into the matter with a view to unearthing the truth and resolving the matter once and for all.
However, Chief Manneh’s parents, friends and well-wishers are eager to see him reunite with his family.