Human Rights

Gambian Police chief warns off reporters

By Abdoulie John
The head of the Gambian police, Inspector General Ensa Badjie, has reportedly warned reporters working with the Daily News, an independent newspaper in Gambia, against ever seeking clarification with the police Public Relations Officer. Inspector General Badjie reportedly made this assertion on Tuesday February 16, 2010, when two reporters from the paper were invited into his office at the headquarters of the Gambia Police Force in Banjul, for questioning over a news article published by the Daily News, which he apparently found unacceptable.
The reporters; Lamin Njie and Saikou Ceesay, were reportedly called at the early hours of Tuesday morning and told to report to the office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
Madi Ceesay, Managing Editor of the Daily News, told Jollof News at the time that he and his reporters were at the police headquarters, having been invited by the police, following publication of the said article on their Monday 15th February 2010 edition, captioned, ‘New Police Line in Deplorable State’. The article highlights the deplorable conditions of living at Police Line in Banjul, an area housing mainly police officers and their families.
‘‘The IGP said he was not happy with the story and that we should not go to the police line to investigate the story,’’ Lamin Njie, one of the affected journalists, told Jollof News.
Madi_ceesayAccording Njie, the police boss ‘‘questioned us as to whether we were there to criticize the police or the government of the day,’’ warning that ‘‘if this was the military barracks we could have been finished by now.’’
Police PRO Sulayman Secka confirmed to Jollof News that the reporters were indeed called in for question, but stressed that they were never arrested.
Police Line, the focus of the controversial Daily News article, is one of a number of security premises President Yahya Jammeh visited last November and found the living condition of their inhabitants ‘’unacceptable.’’ While the then army chief, General Lang Tombong Tamba, was sacked, Inspector Ensa Badjie went free, but with warning from the Gambian leader for actions to be taken to resolve the situation.

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