Gambian journalist still missing after arrest in 2006

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on 5 June 2012 called on the governments of the United States of America and The Gambia to disclose information about the whereabouts of missing Gambian journalist "Chief" Ebrima Manneh who has not been seen since his arrested on 11 July 2006 by the Gambia Police Force of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Ebrima Manneh, 34, a reporter for the pro-government Banjul-based Daily Observer newspaper was arrested at the Daily Observer premises in the presence of his colleagues. He was sighted several times in the custody of state security services.

On 05 June 2008, The ECOWAS Court ruled that the arrest and detention incommunicado of Manneh was illegal and ordered the authorities to release him. The Court dismissed the claims by the authorities of The Gambia that Manneh was never in their custody, and awarded damages in the sum of US$100,000 in favour of Manneh against the Gambian government.

The Gambia government has neither complied with the judgment of ECOWAS nor engaged in a thorough investigation. Manneh's disappearance followed the murder of another prominent journalist Deyda Hydara who was killed on 16 December 2004.

The Inspector General of Police, Yankuba Sonko in an interview with The Standard newspaper on Tuesday 22 May said he had received information from Interpol that Manneh was in the United States of America.

Freedom Now speculates that Manneh’s detention is related to his attempt to republish a BBC News article that traces the source of Gambian President Yammeh’s power to a 1994 coup.


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