Nine years and still counting: Where is Chief Manneh?

Today marks nine years since Ebrima Chief Manneh, a senior reporterChief Ebrima Manneh
with the Daily Observer newspaper disappeared.
The Ghana-based Media Foundation for West Africa has since instituted
a civil action against the Gambia Government at the Ecowas Court of
Justice in Abuja, Nigeria.During the trial, a former staff of the Observer newspaper, Pa Ousman
Darboe, who testified as a plaintiff witness, adduced that the
journalist was picked up at his work place on July 7, 2006, by
plainclothes state security agents. The Court also heard the testimony
of Mr Yaya Damfa, journalist formerly with Foroyaa newspaper. He told
the panel of judges that he saw Manneh at Fatoto Police station.
In 2008, the Abuja-based Ecowas Court of Justice held that the
government of The Gambia is responsible for the disappearance of
Ebrima Chief Manneh.
The sub-regional court ordered The Gambia government to immediately
release the journalist from custody and pay US$100, 000.00 as
compensation to his family. The Gambia government however refused to
honour the court’s order even though the country is a signatory to the
statute that established the court.
On Monday April 6, 2009, the then minister for Justice and Attorney
General, Marie Saine-Firdaus, told the National Assembly of The Gambia
that Chief Manneh was not in the custody of the government. She denied
any knowledge on the part of the government regarding Mr Manneh’s
In March 2011, the president of the republic, His Excellency Yahya AJJ
Jammeh, in his maiden dialogue with media chiefs, did say that his
‘government has nothing to do with the death of Chief Manneh.’
On October 2011, the then Justice Minister Edu Gomez, Monday, told
Daily News newspaper he knew ‘with a high degree of certainty’ that
Chief Manneh was ‘alive somewhere’, but he refused to disclose his
whereabouts. He later told the president of Federation of African
Journalists, Omar Faruk, that Manneh was in the US. The GPU had
written to the minister to seek for an audience with him, but he never
granted it.
In 2012, Yankuba Sonko, Inspector General of Police at the time, told
The Standard newspaper that Interpol had indicated to them that Chief
Ebrima Manneh arrived in the United States of America, but he also did
not give details of his trip. However, the family had denied that
Ebrima is in the US.
In June 2011, the UK Foreign Office revealed that the Gambia
government has informally agreed to calls for independent
investigations by the UN into the disappearance of Chief Ebrima
In September 2012, the US embassy in Banjul, also announced that
President Jammeh has ‘reaffirmed his commitment to… allowing the
United Nations to investigate the disappearance of Chief Ebrima
This year, for the first time in its history, the Gambia Press Union
will commemorate the anniversary of the disappearance this young and
promising journalist.
On Friday July 10, the GPU will hold a day’s seminar on the
disappearance of Manneh at the Gambia Pastoral Institute, along
Kairaba Avenue, starting 4pm. All are invited to attend – Iftar will
be provided.
On this event, we will renew our call for the government to facilitate
investigations into Manneh’s disappearance by independent United
Nations investigators.
GPU Press Release