ARE THEY STILL ALIVE OR DEAD? Asked their loved ones

By Mustapha Jallow

Following the mass release of some persons being detained unlawfully without trial as well as political prisoners by the new government, there are others whose whereabouts are still unknown. They were arrested or abducted by security officers during the former regime. Family members of these victims keep asking the same question as to whether their loved ones are dead or still alive.
DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 4 MONTHS

TUMANI JALLOW, according to reports, was arrested at his workplace in state house by operatives of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in October, 2016.

It was also reported that he was escorted to his residence by the operatives to conduct a search in his room. The source added that he was later transported back to the NIA headquarters in Banjul. However, the family members were surprised when the NIA told them that their loved one is no more under their custody. Since then none of his family members had never heard or seen him.

EBRIMA SANNEH, a resident of Farato is yet to be released or taken to court. According to Kebba Njie, a family member, Sanneh was arrested at his home and taken to Farato police station where he was detained and finally taken to mile two prison. A close relative said they visited the NIA Headquarters and other detention centres in the country but they could not locate their loved one. They are also calling on the authorities to facilitate his release.

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An officer working at the Gambia Immigration Department, LAMIN BAH, has gone missing after his abduction by men in plain clothes on Sunday, 17 December, 2016. His whereabouts still remain unknown to the family members.

The father of the missing officer earlier told Foroyaa that they visited several detention centres within the Greater Banjul Area but they were not able to trace him.

According to the father, his son’s abduction came in the wake of a discussion which he (Lamin) had with others stating that “President Jammeh lost the election and he refuses to accept the outcome but we will use force to remove him.”

He urges the new government of President Barrow to maximize its effort in tracing his 30 year old son whom he described as a very useful son in his family.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 10 YEARS

Lieutenant EBOU LOWE, a former military officer of the Gambia Armed Forces, had gone missing immediately after his arrest on 21 March, 2006, and had not been seen by his family since then.

His devastated mother is calling on the authorities to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his son who she feared dead.

One of Lt. Lowe’s cousins had earlier told Foroyaa that they visited all the main detention centres in the country but were told that he was not held in any one of them

It was also reported that Lt. Lowe was among the military officers who were arrested in the wake of the 2006 attempted coup against the APRC regime. It was later announced on the national television (GRTS) on 4 April, 2006, that Lt. Ebou Lowe had escaped with four other security officers while being transferred to Janjanbureh prison in the hinterland.

The family, however, believed that he was murdered as he has not been seen or heard from since then.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 10 YEARS

A former state house senior reporter and crime watch columnist of the Daily Observer Newspaper, Chief EBRIMA MANNEH, was arrested by security agents and had disappeared since 7 July, 2006. His family said their loved one is nowhere to be seen for the past 10 years.

The aging father of journalist Manneh has been making frantic efforts in search of his son but to no avail. He said he first visited all the known detention centres around the country without any trace of his son and had also approached personalities such as the then NIA Director General, Mr Harry Sambou, the then IGP, Mr. Ousman Sonko, the then State House Imam, Abdoulie Fatty, and the former Vice President,Madam Isatou Njie-Saidy, to help trace Chief Manneh, but without any success.

On 5 June, 2008 the ECOWAS Court entered judgment in favour of the missing journalist and ordered the Gambian government to release and compensate him with the amount of 100,000 US Dollars but which the latter failed to comply with.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 10 YEARS 

A native of Jarra who was residing in Bontho village in Kombo East of the West Coast Region (WCR) and a former staff of the Christian Children Fund, (now Childfund, The Gambia) LAMIN KANYI, alias KANYIBA, was abducted on 18 September, 2006, by men in plain clothes, including a police officer in uniform and in the presence of his family. Since then his family can neither trace him nor have any clue as to his whereabouts.

After his disappearance, his family members had filed a writ of “Habeas Corpus’ at the high court but he was neither produced before the court nor released.

According to eyewitnesses, Lamin Kanyiba was abducted around 9pm by three men who demanded to see him and Kanyiba then asked them to identify themselves and their mission which they refused to disclose.

“The said men in plain clothes then called a taxi driver who was some metres away from the scene. Within a twinkle of an eye, the taxi driver arrived and Kanyiba was forcefully pushed into the taxi and then whisked away in full view of his family, leaving the wife and family in tears,” said the eye witness.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 3 YEARS

Two US citizens, ALHAGIE MAMUT CEESAY and EBOU JOBE, had also gone missing since on Saturday, 22 June, 2013 in Brusubi while they were on holiday in The Gambia. Their whereabouts are still unknown to their family members.

The duo came to The Gambia with the intention of investing in cashew export business but was later abducted from the same apartment at Brusubi on the same day by men in plain clothes. Mamut’s mother told Foroyaa that their family and Alhagie’s family have visited the new Interior minister on the whereabouts of these Gambian born US citizens.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 11 YEARS

A native of Kinteh-Kunda, Marong Kunda, in the Central Baddibu District of the North Bank Region (NBR), MR. LAMIN TUNKARA, was arrested by a combined team comprising the CID (police), NIA and plain clothes officers, behind Albert Market in Banjul on 21 July, 2005. His family members are still wondering whether he is still alive or dead as he has not been seen or heard for the past 11 years.

Mr Tunkara’s house in Tallinding, according to reports, was ransacked by the said security agents who confiscated foreign currency i.e. CFA, US Dollars and Euros as well as Dalasi.

His family said he was once seen at the Kairaba Police Station.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 10 YEARS

Three close friends, ALHAGIE MOMODOU LAMIN NYASSI, ex-Chief of Foni Kansala District, NDONGO MBOOB and ALHAGIE BUBACARR SANYANG, District Coordinator of APRC in Foni Kansala, who are all natives of Bwiam in the West Coast Region, have gone missing since their arrest on 4 April 2006 by men in plainclothes, including a senior police officer in uniform from Sibanor Police station.

However, the families of the disappeared close friends have indicated that their loved ones are not released and that their whereabouts remain unknown.

“I’m very sad and disappointed that my father was not among those who were released recently as he was picked up and taken away by officers of the former regime of Jammeh. We want the new government of President Barrow to immediately start investigating his whereabouts and explain to us if he is still alive or dead,’’ said one of the sons of Mr. Sanyang.

DISAPPEARED FOR NEARLY 11  YEARS

A native of Dobong village, in the Foni Kansala District, JASARJA KUJABI, had gone missing since on Wednesday, 27 July, 2005 after his house was ransacked by agents of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) who led him into a numberless Nissan jeep with tinted glasses and whisked away.

Adama Kujabi, one of the daughters of the missing person, told Foroyaa that their father is not part of those that were released by the new government and thus calls for an investigation into his whereabouts.

Mr. Kujabi was picked up from his farm and then taken to his house for him to change his clothes. His situation is still unknown to his family after 11 years.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 11 YEARS

 HARUNA JAMMEH of Kanilai, was arrested together with Jasarja Kujabi in the same evening. He was put on board the same vehicle with Jasarja and whisked away by state security agents. Since then he is nowhere to be seen or heard.

 MRS. MASIREH JAMMEH, a former employee at the State House in Banjul and also a native of Kanilai, has been missing since 15 July, 2005. The family said since then they have not seen or heard from her and do not also know where she is being held.

 OMAR HYDARA, who resides at Mamuda, Darsilami Sheriff-kunda, has gone missing since 2006 after he was arrested by men in plain clothes. His family members are still enquiring and searching for him but that there is still no trace of him up to now.

“We have been to all the known places of detention in the country such as the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters in Banjul, Janjanbureh prison, Mile Two prison and police headquarters on several occasions but no trace of him,’’ revealed one of his brothers.

However, Omar was not among those who were recently released from detention by the new government.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 10 YEARS

STAFF SERGEANT MANLAFIE CORR, a member of Gambia National Army (GNA) and resident of Faji-Kunda, is still nowhere to be seen or heard from since his arrest in 2006, according to his wife Fatou Jabang.

The wife told Foroyaa that her husband was part of those soldiers who were picked up by plain clothes in the wake of 2006 attempted coup against the former Jammeh regime and was later reported to have escaped while being transferred to Janjanbureh prison in the hinterland. However, the wife said the family does not believe this account given by the former regime and that they fear for the worst as he has not been seen since then.

The wife of GNA Staff Sergeant Corr added that at the time of the husband’s abduction, she was left with a 4 months pregnancy and which she later delivered as a baby boy who is now 10 years old. She described how the disappearance of her husband traumatised the family and brought untold suffering to them as he was the sole breadwinner.

“I am therefore calling on the new government to investigate into the disappearance of my husband so that the three children he left behind would know the fate of their father,” she concluded.

Staff Sgt. Manlafie Corr

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 17 YEARS

ALHAGIE BUBACARR MANNEH, a marabout, was arrested since 1999 by security agents in Banjul while on his way to Serekunda.

The son, Amadou Tijan Manneh, said his is a Senegalese national who was residing in Banjul where he worked as a marabout. He said since his father was reported to have been picked up and taken away the family had never heard from him.