DETENTIONS WITHOUT TRIAL, DISAPPEARANCES PERSIST IN 2015

Detention

By Mustapha Jallow
As we usher in the New Year 2015, the situation of detention without
trial and disappearance without trace persist in The Gambia as more
families are being deprived access or do not know the whereabouts of
their loved ones for periods ranging from 17 days to 9 years. All
the affected families, in one way or the other, have been wishing that
they will be re-uniting with their long absent loved ones as we enter
the New Year, but their long nurtured hopes have been dashed.

Foroyaa have been featuring the long list of people who are still
detained without any charge or court appearance as well as conveying
the pleas of the affected families for the Gambian authorities to
secure their release. These are husbands, fathers, mother, uncles,
sons, and so on whose absence have caused untold psychological,
physical and economic suffering to those they left behind. It includes
those who disappeared nearly a decade ago to those who were recently arrested
and detained in the wake of the 30 December 2014 attack on State House
in the Gambian capital, Banjul. The victims are said to have been
picked up by men in plain clothes, operatives of the National
Intelligence Agency (NIA) and other sister security outfits across the
country.
The following are the detainees and the circumstances surrounding
their arrests and subsequent detentions.

17 DAYS IN DETENTIONMr. Bai Jobe Njie, the father of Modou Njie,
the captured ex-Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) soldier, alleged to be one
of the insurgents who took part in the 30 December 2014 attack on the
State House in Banjul, has been detained for 17 days now. He was
picked up on Friday, 2 January 2015, at his residence in Tallinding
Dumos, by two men in plain clothes and whisked away to an unknown
destination.
The family is calling on the concerned authorities to enable them to
have access to him (Mr. Njie) and to secure his release as he is the sole
breadwinner of the family.
He is a driver at the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC).

18 DAYS IN DETENTION  – Meta Njie, the mother of Lt. Col. Lamin
Sanneh, the alleged ringleader of the insurgents who staged the foiled
December 30th 2014 attack on the State House in Banjul, has been
detained for 18 days now. She was picked up on Thursday afternoon, 1
January 2015, at her residence in Fajikunda Dumos by four operatives
from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), according to a family
source.
The family source added that Madam Njie is still detained at the NIA
head office in Banjul and that they do not have access to her. He
dismissed earlier reports that Lt. Col. Sanneh’s mother has been
released, adding that the family is appealing to the authorities to
release her.

18 DAYS IN DETENTIONYusupha Lowe (13 years old), Pa Alieu Lowe (19
years old) and Jariatou Lowe, who are the son, younger brother and
ex-wife respectively of Baboucar ‘Bai’ Lowe, former Warrant Officer
Class 2 of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), the alleged dissident based
in Germany and insurgent involved in the 30 December 2014 attack on
State House, have all been arrested and detained for 18 days now.
According to a family source, the trio was picked up around 3pm at
Lamin since 1 January 2015 by men in plain clothes who claimed to have
got their orders from the Office of the President and taken away in a
waiting vehicle with tinted glasses.
The family source indicated that they have since not returned home,
adding that they are also concerned with the education of Yusupha,
a minor, and Pa Alieu, who are both students that are still attending
school. The source added that they do not have access to them or know
the reason for their arrests.
18 DAYS IN DETENTIONEssa Bojang and Fatou Sonko, husband and wife,
from Mbankam village in Nuimi, North Bank Region, have been in
detention for 18 days now. They are the parents of the two ex-GAF
military officers, Bakary Bojang and Dawda Bojang, who are alleged to
be among the attackers of the December 30th, 2014, armed attack on State House in
Banjul.
The parents of these two former soldiers were reported to have been
arrested at their home in Mbankam village since 1st January 2015 by
two men who identified themselves as officers from the Amdalai Police
Station.
Family sources say the couple has not returned home since then
and that they have gone to various police stations in search of
the two, but to no avail.

.
18 DAYS IN DETENTIONOmar Malleh Jagne, said to be a brother of the
former US army Captain Njagga Jagne, who was reported killed in the 30
December 2014 shooting near State House, is said to be missing for 18
days.
He was said to have been picked up together with his nephew, Ebou
Jagne
, who is confirmed released on Sunday, 11 January 2015.
However, Omar Malleh, who was arrested at his residence in Lamin, is
still being detained.
69 DAYS IN DETENTIONMr Ambu Drammeh, a mentally ill young man who
was arrested and detained by men in plain clothes, is said to be held
incommunicado at Mile Two prison.
A magistrate of the Brikama court had earlier ordered for Mr. Drammeh
to be taken to the Tanka Tanka Psychiatric Hospital to undergo
treatment.
According to the family members, they have visited the Mile Two Prison
on several occasions and the prison officials confirmed that he was
there but that they were not allowed access to him. They revealed that
the last time they visited the prison was on 25 November, 2014 but
were denied access to him by the prison officials. They added that
the reason for his arrest and subsequent detention at Mile Two prison
is not known to them.
The family said they are appealing to the head of state to help secure
the release of this mentally deranged young man from prison.
It could be re-called that state security agents came to
Ambu’s home in Farato before the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan
in 2014, looking for him. The family members said security agents told
them that the younger brother’s Birth Certificate and National
Identity Card, together with a set of prayer beads and pair of shoes,
were found at the Banjul International Airport where the presidential
aircraft is parked. He said the agents waited for him until he
returned home only to pick him up. He said after ascertaining facts on
him, he was eventually released by the said authorities and he later
returned home.
The family members said less than a week after Ambu left for Kerr
Pateh to take local treatment; the state security agents came for him
again but they informed them that he had left for the village.
According to the family, the security agents went to his village and
picked him up and later brought him to Police headquarters in Banjul.
“We were told by the police that he was held there for only two days
and then taken away. When we checked for him at the National
Intelligence Agency (NIA), we were told that he was not with them. We
searched for him at the Brikama and Yundum police stations, as well as
Tanka Tanka, but he was nowhere to be found,” narrated Ambu’s elder
brother.
They said since then they have no access to their loved one.

101 DAYS IN DETENTIONMr Mambury Njie, a former Minister of Finance
and Economic Affairs, has spent 101 days in detention today. He is
being held at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in Banjul and was
even hospitalized while in detention.
Mr Njie was arrested at his residence in Brusubi on Thursday, 9
October 2014, and taken to the NIA headquarters in Banjul where he has
been held since.
A family source indicated that they have access to him but that he is
still not released or taken before a court.
However, this last arrest and subsequent detention, among previous
ones, came in the wake of Mr Njie’s acquittal and discharge on the two
counts of economic crime and neglect of duty by Justice Mikailu
Abdulahi of the Special Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul
on 3 July 2014.
He is being detained beyond the 72 hours which is mandated by the
Constitution of the Republic of the Gambia.
The family source said the reason for his arrest and long detention is
still not known to them, adding that they are calling on the
authorities to release their loved one.

 

144 DAYS IN DETENTIONMr Seedy Jaiteh, a former Human Resource
Director of Gamcel, is still under detention at Mile II prison for 144
days without court appearance, bail or release since on 27 August,
2014.
According to family sources, men in plain clothes believed to be
state security agents, picked him up from his residence in Manjai
Kunda on 27 August, 2014, at about mid-night and whisked him away to an
unknown destination.
The men in plain clothes led Mr. Jaiteh in a waiting black tinted
glass vehicle without registration number, a family source indicated.
However, on Thursday, 28 August 2014, family members visited the NIA,
the Police and NDEA but were told that Mr. Jaiteh was not in custody
in any of the three places.
During their searching, according to the source, he was eventually traced
at the NIA headquarters in Banjul and that the family was initially
allowed to be taking food to him but this was stopped on 2 September
2014.
The source has indicated that the family has got information that
their loved one is being held at Mile II prison, but that they could
not have access to him.
The fifty two year old man is said to have two wives and a child.
245 DAYS IN DETENTIONLieutenant Colonel Solo Bojang, the
erstwhile Commander of the State Guards in Kanilai who was also former
manager of the Kanilai Family Farms (KFF), is still under detention
for 245 after being acquitted and discharged by the Brikama
Magistrates’ Court on 12 May 2014.
Family sources say that immediately after his release, he was seen being
escorted out of the courtroom by men in plain clothes and whisked away
to an unknown destination, since then he has not returned home.
Lt. Col. Bojang was tried for four counts i.e. Abuse of
office, False information, Conspiracy and Theft and was acquitted on
three counts, but convicted on the false information charge and fined D50, 000,
a fine that was paid, according to the family.
The family is still calling on the state to help in ensuring the release of their
breadwinner as they are going through very difficult times and
are now desperate to see him.
MORE THAN TWO YEARS IN DETENTION NOWMr. Momodou Sowe, a former Protocol Officer at the State House in Banjul, also a native of New
Yundum village in the West Coast Region, who was arrested and detained
by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) on 3 December, 2012 is still
not released. His family has filed a case at the high court in pursuit
of his release. The matter is now before the court.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 8 YEARS NOW: Chief Ebrima Manneh, a Former State House Senior Reporter and Crime Watch Columnist of the Daily
Observer, was picked up by security agents at his workplace in Bakau
on 26 July 2006. Since then he has never been seen by his family
members.
The incident occurred immediately after the African Union Summit
hosted by The Gambia.
The father of Chief Manneh, who appeared desperate, said he had
visited all the known security 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, Fatty and the Vice
President Isatou Njie-Saidy to help in the efforts to trace Chief
Manneh, but to no avail.
They conclude by calling the state to mount an investigation on their
loved one, because they were very much traumatized about
the disappearance of their breadwinner.
The Media Foundation for West Africa had filed a case for the release
of Chief Manneh at the Community Court of West Africa and the court
ordered the Gambian state to release Chief Manneh and pay him
compensation of $100,000 for unlawful detention. The response of the
government after the judgment of the court is that they do not have
Chief Manneh in their custody.

 

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 599 DAYS: Alhagie Mamut Ceesay and Ebou Jobe, are two Gambian – US citizens who went missing on 22 June 2013
in Brusubi while on holidays in the Gambia.
On the continued disappearance of the two US citizens in The Gambia
since the middle of last year, the new Charge d’Affaires said it is
the duty of the American government to protect American citizens
wherever they are.
“As far as I know they were picked up and disappeared and we have
asked the Gambia government to investigate,” he said.
He disclosed that they have even offered the services of the FBI to
help in locating these two US citizens but the Gambia government has
still not responded positively to their request.
DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 8 YEARS: Mr. Lamin Kanyi (alias Kanyiba Kanyi), a native of Jarra who was residing in Bonto village in Kombo
East of the West Coast Region (WCR) and a former employee of the Christian
Children Fund, (now Child Fund The Gambia), was abducted in the Gambia
on 18th September 2006 by men in plain clothes believed to be security
agents. His whereabouts are still not known to his family.
According to family sources, Kanyiba was abducted around 9:00pm by
three men who demanded to talk to him outside and that Kanyiba asked
them to identify themselves and their mission which they refused
to disclose.
“The 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 a family member.
A family source further told Foroyaa that they have been traumatized
and are seriously affected by the abduction and disappearance of their
loved one since 2006.
It was also revealed that at the time of Kanyiba’s forced
disappearance, his wife was pregnant and later delivered a baby girl
who is now 8 years old and attending school.
The family said it is pleading with the head of state and his
government to aid them in locating and securing the release of their
loved one.
It was also reported that his father died shortly after a visit to
Kanilai to request for an audience with President Yahya Jammeh, but
which was denied.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 9 YEARSMr. Lamin Tunkara, a native of
Kinteh-Kunda Marong Kunda in the Central Baddibu District of the North
Bank Region (NBR), was reportedly arrested on 21st July, 2005, by a
combined team, comprising the CID (police), NIA agents and plain
clothes officers, behind Albert Market in Banjul. The family said his
house in Tallinding was ransacked by the said security agents who
confiscated foreign denominations – CFA, US Dollars, Euros and Dalasi.
The family also said Mr. Tunkara was detained at the Police
headquarters in Banjul for few days and later at the Kairaba Police
Station.
His family said while in detention, he was accused of being an agent
facilitating the journey of nationals through the “back way to Spain.”
He was last seen at Kairaba Police Station and up till now family
members have no clue of his whereabouts.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 9 YEARSMrs. Masireh Jammeh, a former employee at the State House in Banjul and also a native of Kanilai, is
still missing since July, 15th 2005.
The family said since then they have not seen or heard from her and do
not also know where she is being held.

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 8 YEARS: Three close friends, Alhagie
Momodou Lamin Nyassi
, ex-Chief of Foni Kansala District, Ndongo Mboob
and Alhagie Buba Sanyang, all natives of Bwiam village in the West
Coast Region, went missing and never returned home since their
arrest by men in plain clothes in a blue numberless tinted glass
vehicle in 2006.
According to sources, the former chief of Foni Kansala was arrested by
plain clothes agents on Tuesday evening, 4th April, 2006, whilst
conveying his friend, Ndongo Mboob, who visited his house. The
relatives of the disappeared persons told this reporter that they are
traumatized and desperate to see their loved ones.
According to them, they have visited all security detention centres in
The Gambia, including Mile II Central Prisons, Janjangbureh Prison,
NIA detention centre in Banjul and the Police headquarters, but that
all these efforts proved futile.
Alhagie Buba Sanyang (alias Bubai), was also picked up from his house
on the same day by 3 plain clothes officers who informed him that he
was wanted. The family said Bubai had just finished performing
‘maghrib’ prayer when the men came for him. They said Bubai at that
juncture handed over his mobile phones to his wife, and then the men
whisked him away. The family added that up to date they have not seen
or heard from him.
DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 9 YEARS:

Jasarja Kujabi, of Dobong village,
in the Foni Kansala District, went missing since Wednesday, 27th of
July, 2005, after his house was ransacked by three plain clothes
officers in a numberless Nissan 4 wheel vehicle with tinted glasses.
Family sources told Foroyaa that they have not seen or heard from him
since his disappearance in 2005.
According to the family, Mr Kujabi was picked up from his farm and
then taken to his house for him to change his clothes. The source said
he told his family that he is going to answer but that they should not
be bothered and that he was later whisked away. (photo of Jisaja)

DISAPPEARED FOR MORE THAN 9 YEARS – The source further revealed that
Haruna Jammeh, also went missing in the same evening, as he boarded
the same vehicle that came to arrest Jisarja. Since then they are
nowhere to be seen or heard.