- The editor of Senegal’s privately-owned daily ‘L’Exclusif’, Moussa Gueye, was reportedly abducted and taken to an unknown location by plain-cloth police who seriously beat him.
Gueye’s beating came after he was lured into a trap on Monday, hours after ‘L’Exclusif’ ran a story captioned “President’s night-time escapade.” Gueye was out of the office when he received a call from an unidentified person claiming to place an advert on his paper’s next issue. He asked the caller to meet him at ‘L’Exclusif’ office in Dakar.
On his way to the office, Gueye was intercepted by five members of the Criminal Investigation Department who asked him to produce the author of the article on the President, Justin Ndoye.
When he had refused to comply with their [police] demands, Gueye was slapped, handcuffed and bundled into a waiting police car and asked to lead them to find Justin. The attackers later drove to the paper’s office where they punctured tyres of all the cars outside before going away with the newspaper’s computers.
A member of the staff who is now in hiding said he thought Gueye could have been taken to DIC headquarters.
Staffers at ‘L’Exclusif’ linked their editor’s arrest to the continent of Ndoye’s story concerning the President’s “nocturnal stories” with his Chief of Staff. In the same piece, Ndoye quoted “sources close to the presidential palace.”
“Such archaic methods do no honour to Senegal,” the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said in a reaction. “The government often insists that it is committed to press freedom but these incidents keep on recurring. Even if Senegal’s press legislation is repressive, this case would have been handled fairly by means of ordinary judicial procedures. Instead, a journalist was literally kidnapped, beaten and shut away, and now the government has political prisoner being held for lese-majeste.”
President Abdoulaye Wade had earlier denied attempts to control press. He had however asked journalists to distinguish between “the President, citizen Wade and Senegal.
“You know full well that I have the means to control the press. But I will not do it and I don’t want to do it (...) I don’t want a press on the payroll. I have enough money for that. I could do it but I am not going to do it,” he said.
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