By Mustapha Jallow
The family members of Sheikh Omar Colley, the Imam of a mosque in Jabang Borehole, have neither seen nor know his whereabouts since the day he handed himself over to the Old Yundum police station 118 days ago, according to a close source.
Imam Colley, who is also the ‘chef de garage’ or head of the Brikama car park in Banjul, was said to have been transferred from this police station to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters in Banjul less than a day after he presented himself there following instructions from a distant caller in Bansang.
The source indicated that it was initially hinted to the family that he was at the NIA for 48 days before being transferred to Janjangbureh prison in the Central River Region (CRR). “We have been visiting this prison on many occasions to trace our brother but have always been told by the wardens that he is not detained there,” said the source.
The source said Imam Colley’s immediate family is being traumatised by the continuous disappearance of their father, husband and brother without trace or knowledge of his whereabouts.
“Our brother’s present situation is a real cause for concern as we do not know where and how he is being held. His two wives and numerous children are seriously worried about his present condition and state of health,” added the source.
The source renewed the appeal of the family for the concern authorities to intervene and secure the immediate release of their loved one from this long detention without knowledge of his whereabouts or access to him.
It was earlier reported that it was on Thursday 15 October, 2015, when Imam Colley who was at his home received a telephone call from someone, who claimed to be calling from Bansang police station and thus asking him to report to the Old Yundum police station. He said this unknown caller told the brother (Colley) to connect him through his mobile phone when he reaches the station so that he (caller) could talk to the station officer (SO). He said this was around the time when his brother was about to go to the mosque to perform his ‘Maghrib’ (twilight) prayers.
The source further explained that they accompanied Mr. Colley to the station and that while they were there, their brother called the said caller from Bansang to talk to the police they met there and who later asked him to hand over all his personal belongings e.g. mobile phone, wrist watch, rosary beads, etc., and enter the cell. He said the brother then complied with this police order.
A close family source said when they returned to the station around 7am the next day on Friday, they were told by the police officers they met there that their brother is no longer in their custody. He said the brother was later traced at the NIA headquarters in Banjul but were denied access to him.
His detention has now exceeded the 72 hours duration which is in contravention of Section 19 of the second republican Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia which states “Any person who is arrested or detained… who is not released, shall be brought without undue delay before a court of law and, in any event, within 72 hours.”.