Ameriques Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Senegal14 March 2008

Letter to interior minister about harassment of exiled Gambian journalists in Senegal

Reporters Without Borders wrote yesterday to Senegal interior minister Ousmane Ngom alerting him to the presence of Gambian security forces within Senegal who are conducting operations to intimidate exiled Gambian journalists.

One of the recent cases mentioned in the letter, an attempt to intimidate Yahya Dampha, a former reporter with the daily Foroyaa who also reports for Amnesty International, is particularly worrying.

Three men went to his home in Dakar on 10 March and one of them, Habib Drammeh, asked him : “Don’t you work for Amnesty International ? We know you still work for Amnesty International. That’s why we want to discuss something with you.” Dampha refused to go with them and they were forced to leave when neighbours intervened.

The letter also cited other cases of “threats and surveillance of exiled journalists in Senegal” in recent years, such at that of Musa Saidykhan, the former editor of the privately-owned weekly The Independent, who receiving anonymous calls and was followed in Dakar on several occasions.

Members of the Gambian security forces have also made enquiries about Mohamed Oury Bah, a Liberian journalist formerly employed by The Independent who fled Gambia at the start of this year after being arrested and threatened several times by the country’s National Intelligence Agency.

Telephone threats were made last year against Isatou Jagne, a former employee of the Banjul-based daily The Point and eye-witness of the December 2004 murder of its editor, Deyda Hydara, who was the Banjul correspondent of AFP and Reporters Without Borders.

Reporters Without Borders told the interior minister in its letter that it decided to refer the situation to him “before you are notified of a kidnapping or a murder.” It added : “We believe that these repeated incidents and this climate of fear being imposed by the NIA, the Gambian intelligence agency, on Senegalese territory are sufficiently disturbing that the interior ministry should take serious measures to put a stop to them.”

In this country
17 March - Senegal
Three community radio stations suspended for broadcasting political programmes
24 February - Senegal
Three-year jail sentence for newspaper editor upheld on appeal
20 August - Senegal
President Wade asked to intervene after two newspapers ransacked
30 July - Senegal
Disturbing comments about media by President Wade
31 March - Senegal
Police rough up journalists covering banned protest and stop TV station from broadcasting footage

in the annual report
Senegal - Annual report 2006

Africa press releases
3 June - Somalia
Alarm at TV station director’s abduction near Mogadishu
27 May - Gabon
Government imposes news blackout on President Bongo’s health
26 May - Somalia
Radio reporter shot by militia dies of injuries, fourth journalist to be killed this year

africa archives

18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election

Sign the petitions
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists