- Gambian security officials have arrested and detained two senior officials of the Amnesty International (AI) and a Gambian journalist after they were accused of spying.
The AI’s acting Director for Africa and Campaign Officer for Liberia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, Tania Bernath and Ayobele Ameen, Yaya Dampha who works with the privately-owned Foroyaa Newspaper and their driver Lamin Barrow, were arrested by agents of the National Intelligence Agency on Saturday. They were arrested in Basse town, some 400km from the capital Banjul.
After an hour’s interrogation, the spy suspects who are yet to be charged, had spent the night in a governor’s residence before being escorted to the Criminal Investigations Department in Banjul where Barrow was released without charge.
Human rights lawyers, Sheriff Tambedou and Lamin Camara were not allowed to secure bail for the suspects after their arrival in Banjul.
The detained suspects said they had been denied food for two days.
Tania and Ayobele travelled to The Gambia on Tuesday to conduct training on good governance for civil servants and journalists. Their mission also covers investigations into dwindling human rights abuses in the country.
Amnesty International officials said the researchers and journalist had been arrested when they attempted to visit a member of the main opposition United Democratic Party, Ousman Rambo Jatta.
Jatta, an elected local councillor and Kanjiba Kanyie, an official of a local charity organisation and a pro-government newspaper reporter Chief Ebrima Manneh, were had been in prison for more than a year without their whereabouts being disclosed.
President Yahya Jammeh came to power through a military coup in July 1994, deposing the country’s elderly statesman, Sir Dawda Jawara, from office. Since then, right activists have been blaming The Gambia government for its abusing the rights of politicians, right activists and journalists.
The Accra-based Media Foundation for West Africa expressed its “strongest dissatisfaction” over the action of Gambian authorities. “We are very much concerned about the safety of the detainees and call on the government of President Yahya Jammeh to immediately and unconditionally release them,” the body said in a statement.
The Gambia has refused to appear before the Community Court of ECOWAS in Abuja over the disappearance of Ebrima Manneh. The case is set for judgment on 20 November.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.