A Gambian journalist who was detained overnight by government authorities last month, has been held by security forces for a second time according to reports.
Reporter Abdoulie John was summoned to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) offices for questioning on Monday, but was not released according to representative of the Gambian Press Union, Lamin Jahateh, who accompanied the journalist to the security headquarters in capital city, Banjul.
John, a contributor to The Associated Press (AP) and editor of the JollofNews website, was previously arrested on December 9 following an altercation with President Yayha Jammeh’s official photographer while covering a hostage release. He was questioned over his attendance at the event, to which AP had been invited and had subsequently assigned John. The reporter was released after being held overnight.
Jollofnews reported that John had been visiting the NIA on a regular basis since the incident last month and was recently told he had been released on bail, despite not having been charged with any offence.
On Monday, John was escorted to his home by NIA officers who then proceeded to search his home before taking the reporter away again.
AP’s senior managing editor for international news, John Daniszewski said: “AP protests the latest detention of Abdoulie John. John was properly assigned to cover the story and he has answered the same questions several times.”
“We do not understand why authorities continue to question him,” he added.
The International Federation of Journalists Africa director, Gabirel Baglo stated: "Authorities in The Gambia must reveal the whereabouts of journalist Abdoulie John and release him immediately. This journalist was literally kidnapped yesterday by the NIA. He is in grave danger…this is another press freedom violation in a country where independent reporting is a crime since president Yaya Jammeh came to power. ECOWAS [Economic Community of East African States] and African Union must not allow this umpteenth treachery."
"This is more than a human right violation, more than a moral torture of a journalist who has only done his job in due respect of all protocols. We support our colleague and will hold authorities in The Gambia responsible for anything that would happen to him," added Baglo.
Sources: AP, DCMF