As a journalist for the Gambian daily Foroyaa, I reported on Manneh's disappearance. I later chose to go into exile so I could testify before a regional human rights court in a case brought by the Media Foundation for West Africa. The Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States ultimately found the Gambian government had unlawfully detained Manneh and ordered the journalist's release. The government, which officially denies holding Manneh, has ignored the order.
I met Chief Manneh on assignment about 10 years ago, and we crossed paths several times over the years, both of us in search of news. When Manneh vanished after being arrested at the offices of his paper, the Daily Observer, I was assigned to investigate the case. I searched for Manneh from the Bakau police station to National Intelligence Agency headquarters, from a police station in Sibanor to a lockup in Fatoto. When I reached Fatoto in December 2006, I saw an officer escort Manneh out of a cell and serve him food. I could not interview Manneh and, despite my paper's efforts, police officials would not comment on the sighting.
So it has been for nearly three years. Government officials fail to answer legitimate questions publicly and fully, while sources promote misinformation on the case.
I am persuaded Chief Manneh is still alive, but the truth is still elusive. I call on all of you to continue reporting. One day the truth will be known.