Radio journalist killed in student demonstration

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New York, April 12, 2000 — Popular Gambian journalist Omar Barrow, a news editor with the privately-owned Senegalese radio station SUD FM, which broadcasts in the Gambia, was shot dead on April 10 by a uniformed member of the Gambian army’s anti-riot unit, according to sources in the Gambian capital, Banjul.

Two bullets hit Barrow in the armpit as he stood inside the Red Cross compound in Kanifing, a suburb of Banjul, where he had volunteered as a first-aid medical assistant during a violent student demonstration, CPJ’s sources said. Barrow was pronounced dead around 2 p.m. at Banjul’s Royal Victoria Hospital. He was 28.

According to news reports, the students were protesting the alleged murder of one of their number by a local fire department employee, and the alleged rape of a 13-year old girl by a police officer. The students attacked several Banjul police stations and the fire department headquarters, which they set ablaze. They also looted government and commercial buildings in downtown Banjul, including the newsroom of the private newspaper Daily Observer. At least 12 people, including Barrow, were killed during the clash.

It is not yet clear whether Barrow was targeted because of his journalism; CPJ continues to investigate the case.