By Buba Gagigo
The Gambia Press Union (GPU) has urged the Gambia Police Force to either release or charge Gambian journalist Bakary Mankajang, who was summoned for questioning on Wednesday and ordered to report to the Fajikunda Police Station.
Below is the full statement by the Gambia Press Union (GPU).
“Gambian journalist Bakary Mankajang, who was called for questioning by a police officer and asked to report at the Fajikunda Police station on Wednesday, is being detained by the Police Anti-Crime Unit in Banjulinding, his family said.
“Mankajang’s whereabouts were unknown until this afternoon, after family members confirmed seeing him being held behind bars in Banjulinding. A police spokesperson, who could not confirm the reason for his arrest or tell about his whereabouts, told the GPU he was working to gather information about Mankajang’s case.
“Mankajang, a former news presenter at DHK Radio who now runs the online news platform, Mankajang Daily, posted the following on Facebook on September 20, 2023:
“I just received a call from one police officer that I should report to Fajikunda police station now. I don’t know what the matter is, but I believe it is in connection with my trip to Jululung, Cassamance.”
“He said he was in Cassamance, in southern Senegal, where a suspect in the killing of two police officers was arrested, to interview people who knew about the arrest of the suspect.
“We are currently in Jululung, Cassamance to have an interview with some people who were named in arrests of the prime suspect in connection [with] the recent shooting at Sukuta traffic light(s),” Mankajang announced in another post a day before he was invited for questioning by the police.
“A family member said he saw Mankajang on Thursday morning where he was detained in a cell and spoke to him briefly, and when he went out to buy some fruits for him, he was refused entry upon return and forced by an officer to leave the premises of the Anti-Crime Unit with the fruits.
“The GPU calls on the police to either charge the journalist or release him unconditionally and respect the legal limit of 72 hours allowed in the law for detentions.
“The GPU also calls on the police to respect the rights of the Gambian citizens to freely receive, impart and express themselves as guaranteed by the 1997 Constitution and the various regional and international human rights laws that have been ratified by the Gambia.
“Mankajang uses his platform of more than 8,000 followers to read news in English and Mandinka, a local dialect, on Facebook and TikTok.”