Yusupha Cham, a Gambian journalist, now based in the United Kingdom, was living in fear after receiving death threats from persons suspected to be agents of the notoriously feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA) of the Gambia.
The senders in two email messages claimed Cham had been attacking the administration of President Yahya Jammeh in articles he had been contributing to Gambian news websites.
Cham, a former reporter of the privately-owned Banjul-based The Point newspaper within a period of 24 hours received a number of email messages warning him to desist from criticizing President Jammeh. One of the email messages headlined: “We are watching you,” came from email address, [email protected], bearing the name “Musa Jammeh”. This message was sent to the journalist at about 15:30 hrs GMT on April 1, and part of it read: “We members of the Gambian security force, precisely the National Intelligent Agency or NIA have been following and monitoring you with keen interest since you left the country”
An earlier message which came to Cham on March 31 at about 15:23 GMT was entitled: “You are located” and was sent from one “Ismaila Sanyang” through [email protected]. This message threatened the journalist and his family.
“You have to be extremely careful only if you value your life and that of your family because whoever is found wanting or opposing the ideals of our able President DR. PROFESSOR SHIEKH YAHYA A.J.J. JAMMEH will surely pay the price”.
According to Cham, these threats were coming at a time when he had started contributing articles to a number of websites which the agents were claiming to be attacking the government of President Jammeh.