Gambian journalist abducted again, days after he was freed

New York, July 21, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists holds Gambian authorities responsible for the safety and well-being of radio journalist Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay. Ceesay was seen being forced into a car in Banjul, the capital, on July 17, four days after he was held for almost two weeks by individuals suspected of being government agents, according to news reports and a member of the journalist’s family.

Ceesay, manager of the independent radio station Taranga FM, was not heard from again until today, according to a family member. Ceesay’s family member, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal, told CPJ the journalist was brought to the family home by a group of men he identified to relatives as National Intelligence Agency (NIA) agents. The group searched the house and took Ceesay with them when they left. They did not disclose what they were looking for, or where Ceesay was being taken, the relative told CPJ.

CPJ’s phone calls today to David Kujabi, spokesman for the Gambian Police Force, and Louis Gomez, deputy director of the NIA, were not answered.

Taranga FM translates news from international media and local newspapers into local languages, according to CPJ research. The station has been arbitrarily shut down three times in under five years by authorities and the station staff interrogated several times at the NIA in relation to their work, according to the Gambia Press Union.

Ceesay had been released from captivity on July 13, four days prior to his abduction. The journalist had been forced into a car outside the offices of Taranga FM on July 2, according to station staff. News reports said he had been detained by agents of the NIA, but it wasn’t clear how the reports had determined their identity. The security service has harassed journalists in the past.

Ceesay was moved between several unknown locations and was allegedly subjected to abuse, according to news reports which cited the journalist after his July 13 release. Ceesay was unable to confirm that NIA agents were his captors, according to news reports.

“This second abduction in just days of our colleague, Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay, is particularly troubling in light of information that the intelligence services are involved,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “The government must investigate his disappearance thoroughly and ensure he is returned safe and sound.”

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