By Mustapha Jallow & Makutu Manneh
Gambia security agents have on Tuesday released Pa Modou Bojang and other media workers on bail after they were charged with incitement to violence.
The police detained Pa Modou Bojang – the proprietor of Home Digital FM, Gibbi S. Jallow – the Managing Director of King FM radio and DJs Ebrima Bah and Madiou Jallow.
Gibbi Jallow said: “I reported to Bundung Police station and from there they took us to Anti-Crime unit and we spent the night there.’’
Asked by journalists how many charges were pressed against them, he replied: “ It is a single charge and we are going to report Wednesday. They said we should report at 8am.’’
He said he was not afraid because ‘when you are in the media, you have to expect this type of situation because it sometimes happens.’ “This can happen to anyone because no one knows who would be the next victim.”
“We don’t have to accept such acts because it is like we are in a dictatorship,’’ he said.
Jallow further explained: “When they arrested me on Sunday, two of my boys were at the radio playing Guinean music in the morning (every Sunday). I was at the radio until around 11am, I left for home.”
He said he later returned to the radio and on arrival, he met three (3) pick-up vehicles with some people standing outside the station. He said this was around 2pm. He added he found out that one of his staff was already taken away.
According to Jallow, the officers asked him whether he was the manager of the radio and he responded in the positive
He added that one of the policemen made a phone call to someone and after finishing his conversation with the caller, he asked ‘me to report at Bundung station, which I complied with.’
According him, he was told that he was under arrest as this was order that came from the top. Jallow said this would not stop him from executing his duties.
“Our radio has been closed, but I thank The Gambia Press Union leadership for their intervention and standing for the press, including providing food to us while under detention,’’ he said.
He however said there was no torture during their detention as they were together with over hundred protesters, including the executive leaders of Three Years Jotna at the Anti-Crime unit. Jallow said he has denied the charge leveled against him by the police.
Pa Modou Bojang said he was also charged with incitement to violence. He called on his fans, especially the followers of his programme ‘menbekering’to remain calm.
“So, all I am saying is that this has affected my radio programme. I hope my radio would reopen as soon as possible because this radio is here for the masses,’’ he said.
He said: “as far as media work is concerned, we will continue to do our work. This has given me more strength, more commitment and more power to be able to do even more than what I was doing before.’’
“We have a lot of things to address, especially in the security sector because one of my reporters was beaten-up by the security forces,’’ Bojang alleged.
He added: “I was not tortured by the security forces but the only harassment that I’ve suffered was to be put in a cell without telling me what I’ve done. So many journalists were trying to find out my location, but they were hiding me, this is why I called it a kidnap’.”
He said journalists and members of the security services are partners in development; therefore senior police officers should exercise professionalism in the execution of their duties.
Bojang alleged that all the cells he was incarcerated throughout were in terrible conditions. He further urged the Gambian authorities to improve the situations of cells at the Police stations.
However, today morning, leaders of The Gambia Press Union and a group of journalists gathered at the Old Yundum and Wellingara police stations to show solidarity to their detained colleagues.According to the union’s President, journalists were asked to produce sureties who were to deposit their ID Cards for them to get bail.