Madi Ceesay, Managing Director of Banjul based Independent Newspaper and the Editor-In-Chief, Musa Saidykhan, together with other staff members of the newspaper were arrested and detained by members of Gambia’s Police Intervention Unit(PIU) and the Criminal Investigation Department(CID) wing of Gambia Police Force.
A few hours later, all the detainees, but Ceesay, who is also president of Gambia Press Union, and Saidykhan, were released. The authorities further drove the newspaper’s workers away and prevented people from accessing its offices, thereby disrupting normal business activities.
The police did not give any reasons for their action and have denied the two men any visitors including friends and family members. The incident followed a wave of arrests of soldiers and other security agents after an alleged coup plot against President Jammeh’s government on March 21.
The Independent newspaper has been the victim of arson attack and various forms of brutality which has forced some of its journalists to flee the country. Elections are due in October 2006 and President Yahaya Jammeh is intimidating the opposition as a way of scuttling the elections.