Gambia: Muslim Cleric Abducted by Unknown Assailants

Alhagie Sawaneh the Imam of Kanifing South Muslim Mosque, about 12 Kilometers from the capital, Banjul, was picked up by men in civilian clothes around 10 am, while leading a team of workers to clear the grass in the Kanifing Cemetery on 18 October 2015.
The MFWA correspondent reported that family members said they were informed by the community volunteers who went with the Imam to the cemetery that their kinsman was picked up and taken away by men in civilian clothes. He has not been heard of for four days.
 “We are really worried about the situation and don’t know what to do next. We have been trying to call him on his cellphone but the calls are not getting through as it is switched off,” said a distraught family member. Adding: “We don’t know where to go because we don’t know his whereabouts.”
The reason for his abduction is unknown, but the incident follows an ongoing trend in The Gambia of arrest of opinion leaders who are critical of the President.
Among victims of arrests, detention and torture of opinion leaders are the case of Imam Baba Leigh, of Kanifing South who was arrested in December 2012 and detained for five months. He currently on exile in the US.
In June 2012, Ba Kawsu Fofana of Sanchaba Sulay Jobe Mosque was also arrested and is currently residing in neighbouring Senegal.
 In late 2010, the SIC also ordered for the withdrawal of Ba Kawsu’s audio records on sale in the market. The ban also included the use of broadcast media. His ban was lifted by Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh early 2011, who strictly warned him to desist from his style of propagation.
The MFWA condemns the barbaric abduction of Imam Sawaneh, and calls on the authorities in The Gambia to track down and punish the perpetrators.

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