Nigeria:I am in good health — Sowore
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Olumide Ajayi
Arrested convener of the RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore has expressed happiness over the fact that the protests took place in parts of the country and revealed that he is in good health.
Speaking during the visit of the “Take It Back Movement” to the DSS facility where he is being held, Sowore said “I would like to assure everyone that I am being treated well and in very good health.
“I am pleased that the peaceful #RevolutionNow protests went ahead. However, knowledge of the sheer number of innocent Nigerians being arrested for exercising their civil rights bothers me.
“I join others in demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of all those arrested by the police on Monday.”
Director, Media and Communication of the movement, Rachel Onamusi-Kpiasi, confirmed that Sowore was in high spirits.
According to a statement released on Monday evening, “At 6pm today, 5th August, 2019, members of the Take it Back Movement were allowed to visit with our convener, Omoyele Sowore, for the first time since his armed abduction in the early hours last Saturday, August 3. “We met him in high spirits, unmoved by the events of the last few days. The officers allowed us to present him with food as Sowore had refused all meals since his capture.
“We are also happy to confirm that Take it Back members will be allowed to bring him food daily as per his wishes. The freedom fighter was quick to ask about the movement and supporters as he is aware that there will be a lot of worry about his wellbeing.
“Indeed, the silver lining in today’s unrest lies in the knowledge that truly, you cannot stop an idea whose time has come. The Take it Back Movement will continue to agitate for his release as well as that of comrades whose voices this oppressive regime has tried to silence. This visit was a small win; but we will not rest until we are free and free indeed.”
South Sudan president Kiir vows to unite, achieve struggle visions
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has ever promised to lead and unite the country to realize the vision of the founding members of the liberation struggle as the world youngest nation is due to convalesce from the five and half years’ conflict.
President Kiir was speaking during the commemoration to mark this year Martyrs Day at Dr. John Garang Mausoleum in Juba on Tuesday, July 31st, 2019.
Southerners, uprising against Khartoum government was the greatest demonstration of love for Southerner individually and the personification of patriotism; the love for their country, though, the country which gained her independence from Sudan in 2011 after the decades of scorched-earth civil war, shown unenthusiastic honor to the sacrifice its fallen heroes and heroines.
He said those of them, who have been fortunate to have survived the heat of their struggle bear the greatest responsibility to honor the commitments and sacrifices of our fallen heroes and heroines of the five decades’ civil war.
“In doing so, my message this year is to expound on what it means to remain committed to the vision and the cause for which millions have given lives to bestow freedom and prosperity to the generations of South Sudan to come,” said president Kiir.
Millions of South Sudanese have died for the cause of freedom since the rebellion erupted in the then Sudan.
“We should deeply reflect on their sacrifices and pay tribute to their heroic actions. Their blood has laid an unshakable foundation for our country and their names and their contribution to our struggle is indelibly written in our hearts and our history. Let no man or woman in this country ever forget that we rode on the backs on these men and women to achieve our independence,” said president Kiir. “Freedom is not cheap, in fact, nothing causes more than freedom and it is the basis of this that our fallen comrades ultimately gave their lives to buy our freedom.”
As the president and one of the lucky surviving founding members of the armed liberation struggle, saying his work is to achieve unity of all South Sudanese, adding that this is one of the visions of the liberation struggle.
However, when the armed struggle was waged against Khartoum regime, the first vision was to seek total liberation of South Sudanese people, which was achieved through.
“My job as the people and as a surviving founding member of our liberation movement, is to pursue unrelentingly the path that we promised to our people,” said Kiir.
He said he owed it to his fallen comrades [martyrs] and to the people of South Sudan to redirect the country toward the achievement of unity.
“The second stage of our struggle is to consolidate the unity of our people; liberate then from abject poverty, illiteracy and ignorance and ultimately restore their dignity and worth. Unfortunately, we got distracted from pursuing this path and got bemused into pretty politics, power struggle and the pursuit of rents from the state,” said head of state.
After achieving unity, Kiir said the next task will be rapid political, economic and social development of the country that places it the center stage of the African and world affairs.
“This is, we should contribute to the achievement of world peace, culture, scientific advancement and all other wild dreams that have come to define human race,” he added.
President admitted that these focuses may sound so wild and farfetched given the current state of affairs, but they are all within reach.
“This is precisely the reason my government has been at the forefront in pursuing peace by all means and at all cost. For without peace, we cannot dream – leave alone achieving any dreams,” said Kiir. I invite all our citizens within and outside the country to answer our call for peace and to join us in our efforts to rediscover our liberation path and to seek and pursue the core objectives of our liberation struggle. We cannot rest on our laurels just because we have achieved liberation stage one. Our liberation struggle cannot be declared complete until we have achieved the second and the third stages.”
“My surviving comrades and I have the duty to show you the way, but the work of the next generation has started and that is to pursue without waver, stages two and three of our liberation struggles. Let no man question the will, the resilience, and the determination of the people of South Sudan to achieve these objectives. We have proven to the world that when we set our sight on something, we have always gone to achieve it,” president Kiir concluded.
South Sudan is at a new dawn after president Kiir and the key opposition groups, including the main opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar signed the peace deal on September, 2018 to end the conflict, which has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes. The plans to form a power-sharing in May, this year were delayed after there was no funding to disarm, establish cantonments, rehabilitate and integrate militias and rebels across the country to November 12, this year.
Gambia:Ex- President Jammeh Ordered us to Killed Deyda Hydra, Jatta Tells TRRC
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
Malick Jatta, an ex-member of former President Yahya Jammeh’s hit squad has revealed that Jammeh ordered them to killed Deyda Hydara, co- founder and managing editor of The Point newspaper.
Hydra, co-founder and managing editor of The Point newspaper was shot by security personnel’s on 16 December, 2004.
On Monday, Jatta, a native of Tujereng village in the West Coast Region of The Gambia who was a member of the Junglers, Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) they were sent to kill Deyda on December 16 of 2004.
Jatta at the time of Hydara’s killing had already taken part in 2 executions all of which were led by Tumbul Tamba, the head of the patrol team.
He said the Patrol Team was a team of 4 officers who were carrying out the killings he categorized as “abnormal orders”.
“In 2004, we were told were going for the Magic Pen… At that point I did not know who the Magic Pen was. It was Malick Jatta, Tunbul Tamba, Sanna Manjang and Alieu Jeng in this operations… We took a taxi, benz 200… This taxi used to be parked at Yahya Jammeh’s garage in Kanifing. Tumbul who took the taxi sat at the Driver’s seat. I heard him talking to the former President and he was saying “yes sir, your excellency”,” said Jatta, who is a serving army officer of The Gambia Armed Forces.
He said as Deyda’s vehicle approached, Tumbul said “gentlemen the driver is the idiot…”
“I shot, Sanna Manjang fired and Alieu Jeng also fired… I shot one. For my colleagues, I can’t tell how many fire they shot. On route to Kanilai home village of ex- president Jammeh home village, nobody spoke… Tumbul the following day came with some envelope containing some dollars and said gentlemen, this is a token of appreciation from the Big Man (President Jammeh). When I changed mine, it was over D50, 000,” said Jatta.
In his reaction Saikou Jammeh, Secretary General of Gambia Press Union lamented that: “The TRRC is discovering the bitter truth! 15 years on, we’ve today learnt from a Truth Commission witness how a former Gambia Press Union president and prominent journalist, Deyda Hydara, was shot and killed by members of the Gambia military under the directive of exiled ex-president Yaya Jammeh”
“The witness was a participant in the murder. He confessed to shooting ‘the magic pen’ – the name used by the leader of his group, Tumbul Tamba, to describe Deyda. This is an important piece of truth coming out of the TRRC,”
About Deyda Hydra, co-founder and managing editor of The Point newspaper was shot by security personnel’s on 16 December, 2004.
A few minutes before he met his end, Deyda left his office where he and his staff had gathered to celebrate the 13th anniversary of The Point, a private bi-weekly newspaper he co-founded.
He was dropping of two of his employees when he was gunned down. The two staff sustained severe injuries and were flown to Senegal for treatment.
He was killed just days after the Parliament endorsed significantly tighter and more restrictive media laws, an attempt Deyda fought through his popular newspaper column ‘Good Morning Mr. President’. Almost 15 years after Deyda’s murder, the killers have not yet been brought to book.
Gambia:15 years later, killers of Deyda Hydara are revealed
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
The Gambia Press Union (GPU) has learnt with mixed feelings of shock and relief about the killers of journalist Deyda Hydara, a founder and former president of the GPU.
In a press release signed by Saikou Jammeh, Secretary General of Gambia Press Union explained that on Monday July 22, 2019, Malick Jatta, a military personnel and a member of the hit-squad of then-president, Yahya Jammeh, told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) that he participated in the killing of Mr. Hydara.
He confirmed that Yahya Jammeh ordered the assassination in an operation meant to get rid of the ‘magic pen’ (a codename referring to Mr. Hydara). Jatta gave details of how the killing was planned and executed. He also told the commission how he and his colleagues who took part in the operation were given envelopes containing cash as a “sign of appreciation from the big man”, a reference to Jammeh.
Mr. Hydara was a prominent Gambian journalist and a strong advocate for press freedom. He was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting on the night of December 16, 2004. It was the 13th anniversary of The Point, a leading national newspaper he co-established.
He was driving home two of his staff Ida Jagne, a typist and Niansarang Jobe, a layout editor, who also sustained gunshot wounds on her leg and was briefly admitted for medical treatment.
The Jammeh administration had repeatedly denied any involvement in the killing of Deyda. Yet, despite overwhelming evidence pointing to their involvement, they have refused to properly investigate. Instead, the government ignored and censored calls – in some instances blocked efforts – to investigate the killing of the veteran journalist.
Mr. Sheriff Bojang Jr., the president of the GPU, said: “The revelations made by Jatta about the circumstances of the killing of Deyda Hydara confirm the long, widely held accusation that the government of Yahya Jammeh perpetrated the heinous crime.
“It is unfortunate that it has taken this long, 15 years, for us to know the killers of Deyda. This is painfully depressing but also a relief as the family and his colleagues deserve to know the truth and to pursue justice.”
Meanwhile, the Gambia Press Union (GPU) is actively engaged with the TRRC process and is closely monitoring developments.
The Union encourages the Commission to leave no stone unturned in establishing the truth and seeking justice for wide of crimes committed against journalists during the 22-year reign of Yahya Jammeh.
The Union reminds The Gambia Government of its obligation to pursue justice and bring to book every perpetrator, including exiled ex-president Yahya Jammeh, for the killing of Deyda and all other crimes against journalists of which his government perpetrated or failed in its duty to investigate.
The Union wishes to express sincere thanks and appreciation to individuals and partner organisations that have supported in particular the family of Mr Hydara and the freedom and development of the media during those difficult times.
The Union also stands by Mr. Hydara’s family and offers its support and solidarity especially during these trying times.
Gambia TRRC: Death Squad Member Confess ‘We Killed 50 West African Migrants’
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
Lieutenant Malick Jatta, an army officer with Gambia Armed Forces working for a death squad operating on the orders of former President Yahya Jammeh has admitted to participating in the execution of 50 West African migrants in Gambia in 2005.
On July 22, 2005, Gambian police forces arrested approximately 50-56 foreigners in Barra, a town facing Banjul on the opposite shore of the River Gambia.
Among these migrants were 44 Ghanaians, as many as ten Nigerians, two or three Ivoirians, two Senegalese, and one Togolese.
On Tuesday, Jatta, told the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) that he participated in the killings of the West African migrants.
“We were told they were mercenaries,” he said. “I heard people shouting in the forest saying “safe us Jesus”.” This was after Jatta himself shot and killed one of the migrants. He said after killing one, he felt what they were doing was not right.
“Sadden by it, he went to sit in the vehicle. Shots were still being heard in the forest across the Gambian border into the Senegalese territory,” said Jatta.
Jatta said “Then he saw one of the migrants running to hide at a distance of about 20 meters from him. “I can say I saved this person. If I wanted to kill him, at 20 meters sir, I will not miss my target,” .
Jatta is right that there was one survivor of the incident call Martin Kyere. Jatta’s confession was the public evidence from a participant in the killing tying the former President Jammeh to the death of the migrants. Jammeh has always denied involvement in the killings.
Meanwhile, Jatta has confessed to involvement in 3 executions on Monday including the killing of journalist Deyda Hydara in 2004.
He confessed to participating in the killing of Ghanaians, country’s former intelligence chief Daba Marenah and close to a dozen other people.
Amidst Mass Protest in Gambia, Police Chief Calls Calm
July 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
The office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) received disturbing information about a mob of angry youth marching towards the Anti Crime Unit to protest the demise of Ousman Darboe. The Office of the IGP is calling on the youth to observe calm and restraint.
On Wednesday, dozens of young people gathered at the Serekunda Police Station to protest against the death of a Sierra Leonean national Ousman Darboe who they claimed was severely beaten by the police anti-crime unit.
Darboe, a shop owner at Serekunda Black Market was reportedly arrested by police anti-crime unit about 13 days ago and released on Friday. He passed away on Tuesday at 9: 30 according to Muhammed. His friends from the Black Market gathered at the police station near the Serekunda market demanding justice for Darboe.
In a press signed by Assistant superintendent, of Police Lamin Njie, Public Relations Officer of Gambia Police Force explained that Ousman Darboe’s name came up during investigations into a Breaking and Stealing incident that occurred at Kerr Serign on 11th July 2019. Suspects in the said case confessed selling items stolen from the Kerr Serign incident to Ousman Darboe.
“Investigators visited his shop at Serekunda market where a Flat Screen television, part of the stolen items was recovered in his possession,” Njie indicated.
Police spokesperson added that on 12th July 2019, he was arrested and charged with receiving of stolen properties contrary to the laws of the Gambia. On Monday the 15th of July 2019, he was granted bail within 72hours as specified by law and was subsequently reporting on bail.
“Ousman Darboe during his detention was said to be an Asthma patient as shown by medical papers tendered by his family which prompted his bail,”
The Inspector General’s Office assures the public that it will continue a probe into the death of Ousman Darboe and the outcome will be duly communicated to ascertain the cause of death.
Sierra Leone: Police put Le10m reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest of person over Justice Biobele burglary
July 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Police in Sierra Leone have placed a reward of Ten Million Leones (about $1,000) to anyone who provide any useful information that could lead to the arrest of person or persons over the alleged burglary at the Nigerian Judge Justice Biobele Georgewill residence on Monday.
The reward came after the theft incident on Monday 22nd July 2019 in which thief or thieves broke and entered the premises of Justice Biobele Georgewill and carted away with his grey, medium -sized Dell Laptop and few other items.
‘’A handsome reward of Le 10,000,000.00(Ten Million Leones) will be offered to anyone who provides any useful information that could lead to the success of the investigation and subsequent prosecution, ‘’ a Police statement said.
The Nigerian judge is one of three judges in the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (COI) hired by the government of Sierra Leone to look into the activities of former Ernest Bai Koroma administration.
According to a statement from the Head of the Media Mohamed Sulaiman Massaquoi, said the exact circumstances that led to the burglary have not been ascertained adding that the judge himself was not hurt and was not aware of the incident until he woke up in which his laptops computers and few other items were carted away by the thieves.
‘’Mean while the proceedings of the Commission of inquiry will continue unabated. Justice Biobele Georgewill will continue sittings at commission 64 on Wednesday July 24. The public is assured of the continuation of the commission of Inquiry,’’ said Mohamed Sulaiman Massaquoi, Head of media Commissions of Inquiry.
However, Police have mounted investigations and has assured the public that the outcome of the investigation would be accordingly made public.
Detainees arrested in relation to Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis stage protest in Kondengui prison, demand their immediate release
July 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
Calm has been restored to the Kondengui Central Prison in Cameroon’s capital city of Yaounde after Monday’s uproar by Anglophone detainees who protested against inhumane detention conditions, demanding to be immediately released and sent home
The courtyard of the prison witnessed a not-so-common scenario during the early hours of Monday when English-speaking Cameroonians detained in connection with the crisis in North West and South West regions staged a protest, calling for their release by the government.
Numerous reports hold that security elements used tear gas and bullets to clamp down on the protesting detainees who in retaliation rage havoc and set fire on some structure at the facility.
This reporter is yet to confirm reports on casualties and possible deaths during Monday’s protest which forced the minister of defense and other top security officials to rush to the prison.
In a video circulated by the detainees online, they demanded their liberation so they could go home and reunite with their families insisting that their arrest was base-less, tagging themselves as prisoners of conscience.
One of the detainees had on him a blue and white stripped plastic paper, depicting the flag of their Ambazonia, a yet to exist nation which some English-speaking Cameroonians want to establish after seceding from Cameroon.
Voicing their frustrations on the facilities deplorable living situation, the protesting detainees complained of poor feeding conditions, near absence of medical care and maltreatment in the detention center.
Requesting their unconditional release, they called on “the international community to intervene and stop the ongoing genocide in Southern Cameroons”. The prisoners most of whom have been in jailed since 2016 held placards with messages calling on the United Nations, U.S and European Union to intervene in the armed conflict ongoing in the Southern Cameroons.
In an opened letter to the Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute, the protesting detainees outline a number of conditions they say if meet will bring an end to the simmering conflict that has rocked the country for over three years.
Among others, the requested total ceasefire, release of all prisoners, grant amnesty to all those in exile, prepare a suitable condition for back to school and organized a dialogue mediated by a third party.
Also spotted in one of the videos in Mancho Bibixy, radio animator and initiator of the famous “Coffin Revolution” that ushered in a new dawn to the Anglophone crisis in 2016.
Mancho Bibixy was in 2018 sentenced to 15 years in prison and a fine of 268 million francs CFA (approximatively 408 564 Euros) as damages requested by the civil party and 204 million as damages requested by the State, on charges of “acts of terrorism”, “hostility against the homeland”, “secession”, “revolution”, “propagation of false information”, “contempt of public bodies and public servants”, “resistance”, “depredation by band”, “failure to hold his national ID card” and “insurrection” under the Law on the Suppression of Acts of Terrorism No. 28 of 2014 and Cameroonian Criminal Code.
Video reveals violent methods used by Government Forces to combat extremist attacks in northern Mozambique
July 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Arnaldo Cuamba
A video that is circulating on social networks shows elements dressed with the uniform of the Defense Forces of Mozambique, FADM, torturing a supposed civilian, in the scope of the fight against the extremist attacks that since October of 2017 terrorize the province of Cabo Delgado, in the extreme north of Mozambique.
In the images, it is possible to see the soldiers whipping the victim supposedly because he did not give a satisfactory answer when asked about what he was doing in the vicinity of that military position. One of the uniformed men suggested that the victim should be shot while another was searching for water, probably for the practice of torture known as water boarding.
The video was picked up by one of the FADM military on one of the patrol rounds against the extremist attackers and that, in fact, it is their modus operandis, according to local reports. There are also reports of kidnappings of merchants in the areas of the attacks allegedly because they are believed to be feeding the attackers.
In late 2018, human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and summary executions of dozens of individuals suspected of belonging to armed groups.
The situation prompted divergent comments on social networks with one wing condemning the use of aggressive methods by the FADM while another encouraged by the argument that the attackers have also been barbaric in their incursions that have already resulted in the murder of more than 200 people, mostly civilians, as well as the burning of dwellings, the ambush of vehicles, the plunder of public and private property.
Recently, the Mozambican president, Filipe Nyusi, classified the attacks as <acts of terrorism> and ensured that the Defense and Security Forces will continue on the ground to fight, without respite, and will not rest until peace is restored.
The attacks occur near one of the world’s largest natural gas reserves located in the deep waters of the Rovuma basin, which covers the northern Mozambican-Tanzania border.
Several oil giants, notably Italy’s ENI and the US-based Anadarko and ExxonMobil, are preparing to extract natural gas in a process that will cause the country’s economy to grow sharply.
The National Petroleum Institute of Mozambique admits being worried about the violence considering that the situation should be controlled “as soon as possible” to facilitate the development of the projects.
Mozambique: Opposition candidate facing pre-election death threats and intimidation
July 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
Gambia: Ex- VP Slams Poor Infrastructure in CRR
July 16, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
Ousainou Darboe, former Vice President has lamented what he called poor infrastructure, lack of qualified doctors and lack of adequate educational institutions that can better the lives of the people living in the Central River Region (CRR).
Darboe, also leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP), a politically rally over the weekend at Jarumeh Koto village in Central River Region of The Gambia that: “If you observe from Ballangharr up to Sami there is no effective health Center in the area. Even Kuntaur that they claimed to be a major health center – if you go there and compare it with other countries it will look like a dispensary. There is no doctor in Karantaba Major health Center and you still calling them major health centers”.
The veteran lawyer cum politician assured that UDP government will make sure that development is reach to all across the country, irrespective of where one resides.
The former foreign affairs minister warned that some seating members of National Assembly in the region were bent on politicizing the rural electricity project, adding that the project is a Gambia government and African Development Bank project signed during the time of Yahya Jammeh on behalf of the rural people.
Gambia: Nigerian Lawyer Urges TRRC Investigate 2005 West African ‘Killed’ in Gambia
July 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
Femi Falana, Nigerian human rights lawyer, has petitioned the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) to investigate and unearth the truth about the alleged killing of 50 West African migrants in Gambia in 2005.
The veteran lawyer and advocate has also petitioned the Truth Commission to unearth the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of journalist Chief Ebrima Manneh. Manneh was working for the Daily Observer newspaper who disappeared in the country in July 2006 following his arrest by “state operatives”.
Femi is one of the leading human rights lawyers in the region. He has represented Gambia Press Union in the cases of disappeared journalist Chief Ebrima Manneh and Musa Saidykhan, a victim of torture, at the regional ECOWAS Court of Justice.
Both cases were a success and Gambia Government was ordered to pay a fine of US$100, 000 to the family of Chief Manneh and US$200, 000 dollars to Saidykhan.
The administration of President Adama Barrow has paid the court fines in Manneh’s case and are currently negotiating with Saidykhan.
“I have two petitions before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission in respect to the disappearance or unlawful execution of Mr Ebrima Manneh and the massacre of 50 migrants including 9 Nigerians… These were young men who were going to Europe,” he told journalists on 10 July, 2019 during a two days training organized for lawyers and judges on campaign for freedom of expression, where he served as a facilitator.
The Union has started a coalition of Gambian professionals including lawyers and judges to back the campaign geared towards strengthening freedom of expression in the country. however Femi is also an honored guest of the Gambia Press Union annual national journalism awards which is slated for Friday, July 12.