Witness Alleged Former Foreign Affairs Minister Shut down Sud FM

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By Neneh Galleh Barry

Pa Modou Faal of The Gambia Daily and former Gambia Press Union treasury yesterday told the truth commissioners that former Foreign Affairs Minister of Jammeh regime Neneh Mackdull Gaye ordered the shutdown of Sud FM.

The witness told the Commission that despite the government not happy with the way they broadcast, they still continue to do their work.

According to him, one Ousman Ceesay was harassed in connection to a commotion at the Albert Market because businessmen were shutting down their shops. Ousman was beaten mercilessly and his recorder destroyed. Mr. Ceesay sustained injuries as a result of the tortures.

He said Ousman was interviewed and he narrated his ordeals. In 2007 while hosting a Civic Education, security Officers storm the Station and told them that they got an order for the Station to shut down.

The officers did not give any reasons for shutting down the radio, neither did they show any warrant cards. Sources informed them that Neneh Mackdull had a hand in the shutting down of the radio. He explained.

Faal told the commissioners that the killing of the late Omar Barrow was on the 9th April, 2000, he was hinted that on April 10th the same year, there would be student’s demonstration and told him to go to his house for briefing on how to cover demonstration.

He said after the briefing with Mr. Barrow on how to go about the coverage he told him that he won’t be on the ground but would go to the Red Cross HQ.

He said on the day of the demonstration while at GTTI Mr. Ousman Ceesay called him, but he told those at the Station that he was in Bakau while he was given a live report from GTTI.

The authorities were not happy that Sud FM was reporting live and thereafter security officers started firing at Students. “The Army was shooting at students.”

Faal explain to the commissioners’ that when he knew that soldiers were following him, he ran to GRTS which was at Kairaba Avenue where he found Modou Joof and Jainaba Nyang who locked him in a toilet.

He said he later jumped the fence and went to GRTS, Mile7.

He said when he heard that Omar Barrow was killed he went to Banjul with the help of one Mr. Dampha, then CEO of RVTH, and upon arrival he found that his body was about to be taken to the mortuary.

Omar’s death made devastated him , which led to his resignation from the Radio.
Upon resignation from Sud FM, he joined the defunct Independent Newspaper as a freelance.

On the Freedom Saga, he said nothing happens to him but his namesake at GRTS. He said he worked for Observer and later got appointed as a staff reporter; adding that Chief Ebrima Manneh was the head of Crime Watch at the Daily Observer.
Mr. Faal recalled that in 2008, he was elected as Treasurer of the GPU and in 2009, Jammeh made derogatory remarks against the late Deyda Hydara and this led to a Press Release from the GPU.

He said when the release was published by the Point Newspaper, they arrested Pap Saine and Ebrima Sawneh and whisk them away to the NIA.

He alleged he was later called and asked to report to the NIA for questioning and while under interrogations, they asked him where the release emanated from. He said he was also asked about his Political Affiliation.

Mr. Faal testified that his first night at the NIA was terrible due to mosquitos’ bites. He added that they were panic because they thought that the Junglers will go there to torture them.
He further told the Commission that while at the NIA, he suffered from Malaria; adding that the conditions at Mile2 was terrible.
Mr. Faal recollected that they were sentence to two years in prison with a fine of D200, 000 failures of which, they should serve another 2 years.

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