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To each his side of the story! Interior ministry says Three Years Jotna protesters were marching towards Banjul

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By Lamin Njie

The interior ministry has said Three Years Jotna protesters violated the conditions of their permit by insisting they were heading to Banjul.

Three Years Jotna protesters clashed with police on Sunday resulting in the arrest of at least 130 people with many also injured.

The interior ministry in a statement said: “The Jotna Group was given clear warning by the police (Proclamation) to remain converged at the designated assembly point to carry on with their protest which they adamantly refused insisting they were heading to Banjul which was a clear violation of the conditions set out in the permit.

“The police continued to persuade and redirect the protesters toward the agreed convergence point but the protesters refused to comply.

“Clearly, as the agitated crowd made its way to the dual carriage highway towards Banjul, the police had no choice but to use necessary measures to redirect them to the agreed starting point of the protest.

“At this stage, the protesters became uncompromising, aggressive and confrontational which prompted the revocation of the permit for the maintenance of law and order and to enforce the conditions of the permit.”

Madi Jobarteh slams Gambia government as he calls on GPU to sue it at Ecowas court over arrest of journalists

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By Lamin Njie

Madi Jobarteh has slammed the Gambia government over the arrest of four journalists amid violent protests that erupted in the country on Sunday.

Three Years Jotna protesters clashed with police on Sunday resulting in the arrest of at least 130 people. The protest also saw the arrest of four journalists while two radio stations were closed by the government.

The Gambia government in a statement accused the journalists and the two radio stations of violating their licenses.

“Government notes with concern that the two FM stations have demonstrated notoriety for peddling incendiary messages and allowed their media to be used as platforms for inciting violence, fear-mongering and live broadcasts urging Gambians to join Jotna demonstrators all calculated to threaten the security and safety of The Gambia.

“Meanwhile, Pa Modou Bojang, the Proprietor of Brikama-based Home Digital Fm and Mr. Gibbi Jallow, the Manager of King FM are helping the Police in their investigations. The Gambia Government urges all citizens and members of the public to stay away from these stations,” the government said in a statement read on GRTS.

Madi Jobarteh has reacted to the government’s treatment of journalists calling on the GPU to act.

He said: “The arrests of journalists and closure of media houses is an affront to all Gambians and our Constitution. It is dictatorial tendency that we saw in the past that must not be allowed to repeat itself.

“GPU needs to go to ECOWAS Court! The incidence of attacks on journalists and the media in general is increasing in The Gambia yet no accountability is done. This will further weaken the media making it unable to defend itself. High time GPU takes the strongest path to accountability!

“GPU must issue a strong statement right now to condemn these arrests and demand their unconditional release. No journalist should be arrested or media house closed down for its coverage when the Government have the liberty and the ability to respond to what it does not like. The police have no authority to arrest any journalist or close down any media house on account of its reportage!

“GPU must not allow arrested journalists to spend the night in police custody as if they stole or looted or raped or physically assaulted or killed anyone! Rights have to be defended otherwise they will be snatched away by oppressors!”

137 people including Three Years Jotna’s trio leaders of Abdou Njie, Kitim Jarju and Camara Bah arrested over Sunday’s protest

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By Lamin Njie

One hundred and thirty-seven people have been arrested over Sunday’s violent protest, the Gambia government has said.

Hundreds of Three Years Jotna members clashed with police on Sunday as they took to the streets to demand President Barrow’s resignation. At least six people were hospitalised at Kanifing hospital.

The over 100 people arrested include Operation Three Years Jotna’s trio leaders of Abdou Njie, Kitim Jarju and Camara Bah. Other notable figures include Binta Nyabally, Lamin Conteh and Yankuba Darbo.

Breaking news: Gambia government brands Three Years Jotna ‘violent’ movement – as it bans group from ‘ever’ operating in Gambia

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The Gambia government said late Sunday Operation Three Years Jotna is an ‘illegal’ movement determined to unseat the constitutionally elected government of President Adama Barrow.

Hundreds of Three Years Jotna members clashed with police on Sunday as they took to the streets to demand President Barrow’s resignation.

The government in a statement late Sunday said the group is an illegally group, announcing its banned from ‘ever’ operating in The Gambia.

“…Operation Three Years Jotna is rendered a subversive, violent and illegal movement that has all the attributes of a subversive group determined to illegal unseat the constitutionally elected government of President Adama Barrow and is therefore banned forthwith,” the government said in a strong statement read on GRTS.

More follows…

Police take into custody one of their own who left his post to check on his ‘stabbed’ brothers

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By Lamin Njie

Police commissioner Muhammed Kanteh has been arrested after he left his post to check on his brothers who were allegedly stabbed during Sunday’s protest.

Mr Kanteh left Brikama for Kanifing to see his two brother who he claimed had been stabbed while exercising their ‘right’.

The senior officer told reporters at Kanifing hospital he was at work when he received the news.

“I have about 100 men under me as I speak, I left them because my brother is stabbed,” Mr Kanteh said.

He then told reporters his brothers were out lawfully to ‘exercise their constitutional right’.

“I am not feared [sic]. The president himself knows that Kanteh is not feared [sic]”, he said when asked whether he was not afraid of landing himself in trouble.

The Fatu Network has gathered the top officer has been arrested and placed in custody.

Police spokesman Lamin Njie (not related to the author of this story) did not pick a call for comment.

From one man losing almost all his teeth to Abdou Njie’s arrest, New Gambia’s dark day

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By Lamin Njie

Six people were hospitalised as protesters clashed with police at Sting Corner on Sunday.

Thousands of Gambians on Sunday took to the streets to demand the resignation of President Adama Barrow but the protest turned violent before it could even start.

Riot police fired teargas and beat the protesters who had started gathering at Sting Corner for a walk to the Independence Stadium.

It all started when a man suspected of being a member of Barrow Youth Movement appeared at the protest with a motorbike. A small crowd surrounded him and as tempers flared, police fired teargas. The place was then thrown into turmoil.

In the heat of the moment, Abdou Darboe, a protester lost almost all his teeth after being allegedly hit on the jaw with a ‘big’ stone by police.

His friend Saibeh Manneh told The Fatu Network: “All hell broke loose at Bakau Sting Corner where Abdou was just at the edge of the crowd. They approached him to move from there. Abdou told them, ‘we are given a permit to gather and to move to our destination’. They said, ‘no we don’t care, you have to move’.”

Saibeh added: “So during that fracas, bunch of them banged on him, assaulted him. The other one picked a big stone and hit him at the jaw and then immediately they dispersed.”

Six people were hospitalised at Kanifing hospital where a small crowd gathered to find out what was happening. Among them was the ringleader of the protest, Abdou Njie.

He told The Fatu Network President Adama Barrow was ‘nothing’ as he reacted to the violence.

“Adama Barrow is nothing, it was people who made him something. So if he wants to abuse the power we gave him, what we did in removing Yahya is what we are going to do to him too,” Mr Njie said.

Later, two riot police vehicles pulled off in front of the hospital and arrested Mr Njie in the middle of a small crowd.

The Operation Three Years Jotna chairman declined the police’s offer for him to enter inside the vehicle. Instead, he climbed in the back of the pickup truck where he waved at the small crowd as the police vehicle sped up.

He was first taken to Kanifing Police Station and later moved to the police intervention unit. The police later took him to Banjul.

Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque fumes as government ‘denies’ agency accreditation that covers Three Years Jotna’s protest and Saturday’s anti-Jammeh march

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By Lamin Njie

Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque has slammed the Gambia government for denying Al Jazeera accreditation to cover Three Years Jotna’s protest on Sunday.

Thousands of Gambians under pressure group Operation Three Years Jotna will take to the streets on Sunday to call for President Adama Barrow’s resignation.

Al Jazeera had last month been cleared to cover an initial protest by Operation Three Years Jotna. The group is protesting against President Barrow’s plan to stay in office for the second time in four weeks.

Mr Haque in a tweet on Saturday said the Gambia government ‘refused’ to grant Al Jazeera accreditation to cover Three Years Jotna’s protest.

“It’s really unfortunate the Gambia’s government refused to grant us accreditation to cover Jammeh’s victims protest and 3 Years Jotna demo against Barrow – seems they are turning to old tactics used during Jammeh’s time but this will not stop our reporting,” Mr Haque said in a tweet.

However, The Fatu Network has seen a letter purportedly by the ministry of information approving a filming request that suggests Al Jazeera wants to film in the country between 28 January and 8 February.

 

Madi Jobarteh puts Sankareh in his place following petition man’s attempt to run the show

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By Lamin Njie

Madi Jobarteh told Ebrima Sankareh ‘we run things here’ following the government spokesperson’s attempt to say something moments after climbing the stage.

Mr Sankareh was once again activated to receive a petition for onward delivery to President Adama Barrow, as hundreds marched to call for former president Yahya Jammeh to be brought to justice.

As usual, no-nonsense-looking police in their riot gear escorted Mr Sankareh as he climbed the stage to receive the Jammeh victims’ petition.

However, an awkward moment was when the government spokesperson made an attempt to say something only for one of the leaders of the march Madi Jobarteh to rebuff him.

“This is our show, we run things here,” Mr Jobarteh told Sankareh who then retreated as the crowd jeered at him.

Later, Mr Sankareh was given the floor to addressed the crowd in which he lifted the lid on how he was also a victim of former president Jammeh’s rule. He said he came to the march ground with a lot of emotion.

Jammeh victims demand APRC’s suspension as they slam ex-leader’s supporters over their ‘blatant’ denial of Jammeh’s sins

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By Lamin Njie, editor in chief, and Adama Makasuba

The Gambia government should impose a ban or suspend the APRC party until the ongoing TRRC is concluded, victims of former president Yahya Jammeh ordered the Barrow administration on Saturday as they took to the streets to demand that the former leader be brought to justice.

Former President Jammeh ruled the country for 22 years but an ongoing investigation has revealed his rule was dotted by gross human rights violations and abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances.

Hundreds of Gambians who were victims of his rule took part in a less-than-a-kilometre march on Saturday calling for Mr Jammeh to be brought to justice.

The victims are however not happy with his supporters and are calling on the Barrow administration to ban the former leader’s party, APRC.

Sheriff Kijera, one of the leaders of Saturday’s march, said in a petition letter to the Gambia government: “Victims continue to raise concerns that despite the various testimonies by both victims and perpetrators alike, there still exist a section of out society that is in blatant denial of the atrocities committed by the former president to the extent of demanding for his return as an ordinary citizen, which is a mockery and a provocation to victims. This provocation can incite violence and jeopardise the ongoing investigation of the TRRC and negatively impact on the reconciliation and healing process.

“It is against this background that the victims community and CSOs are demanding the following; the Gambia government to impose a ban or suspend the APRC party until the ongoing TRRC is concluded; the Gambia government condemn any threat towards the victims and take appropriate legal measures for remedy…”

Saturday’s march attracted Gambians from all walks of life as they chanted, ‘we want justice, now!’

Former PPP interim leader Omar Jallow who took part in the march bashed Jammeh’s over their campaign for the former president to return to the country.

“After all the treacherous and violations of human rights and people’s rights that had happened here in 22 years of Jammeh’s regime, all those Gambian sons, daughters who were killed, tortured, raped, still the APRC wants Yaya Jammeh to come back here in honor.

“And they are praising him for all those terrible crimes he had committed. I think, what the APRC should have done is to show remorse, to beg for forgiveness and to accept their faults,” Mr Jallow said.

Ba’s hero moment: Justice minister gets hero’s welcome at family home as he returns to the country

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By Lamin Njie

Abubacarr Tambadou got a hero’s welcome from family and friends after the justice minister returned to the country from the Netherlands where he fronted Myanmar’s ICJ shaming.

Mr Tambadou is credited for dragging Myanmar to the International Court of Justice over its treatment of the Rohingya. UN investigators had discovered the Asian nation was engaged in acts of genocide against the minority Muslim tribe.

The Gambia last year with backing from the world’s Muslim countries filed a case at the International Court of Justice alleging that Myanmar was committing “an ongoing genocide” against the Rohingya.

On Thursday, the Rohingya got a glimpse of respite after the world’s top court ordered Myanmar to take measures to prevent genocidal acts against the group.

The court unanimously adopted “provisional measures” that require Myanmar to prevent genocide and take steps to preserve evidence.

According to human rights watch, Myanmar’s military committed extensive atrocities against the Rohingya, including murder, rape, and arson, that peaked during its late 2017 campaign of ethnic cleansing, forcing more than 740,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh.

In September 2019, the United Nations-backed International Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar found that the 600,000 Rohingya remaining in Myanmar “may face a greater threat of genocide than ever,” human rights watch said.

Mr Tambadou who has been leading the case of the Rohingya returned to the country on Friday, with family and friends filling Tambadou Kunda in Kanifing to congratulate him.

His mother cried while hugging him as his brother Sheriff smiled throughout at an event that also saw the national anthem played.

Imams from the Supreme Islamic Council were also at the Tambadou home to pray for the justice minister.

UDP walks away with the bragging rights as overwhelmed Mamour Jobe backs out

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By Lamin Njie

Police chief Mamour Jobe on Saturday issued UDP a permit to hold a rally in Brikama, cancelling an initial move that saw him deny the country’s biggest party a permit.

Mr Jobe had on Friday denied UDP a permit to hold a rally at Brikama SSP, a move that angered UDP.

UDP leader Ousainu Darboe later laid into the police chief as he threatened to disregard the IGP’s decision and go ahead with the rally. The police chief has now reversed his decision and has issued UDP a permit to hold its rally.

It marks the third time in recent weeks the police chief would deny a group a permit only for him to back-pedal when pressure mounts.

Last month, the IG denied GDC a permit to hold rallies in URR only for him to change gear a few days later, and earlier this month, he denied Operation Three Years Jotna a permit too. He later rolled back the move after the group threatened to take to the streets without a permit.

The Fatu Network gathered on Saturday the IG granted UDP a permit after he was summoned to State House. State House press secretary Amie Bojang Sissoho however said she was not aware of a meeting.

Scores hold anti-Jammeh march but APRC man forced to run for his life after he showed up at event and taunted the marchers

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By Adama Makasuba

An unidentified man nearly got mauled after he showed up at an anti-Jammeh march shouting that the former leader didn’t commit any crime.

Victims of former president Jammeh on Saturday took to the streets to demand that the former leader be brought to justice for crimes he allegedly committed. Mr Jammeh is accused of committing serious human rights violations and abuses during his 22 years rule.

The victims who included UDP leader Ousainu Darboe said they want the former president to face justice.

However, an unidentified man appeared at the event taunting the marchers and shouting that allegations against Mr Jammeh were baseless.

The man was then forced to run for his life after his comments angered the victims. He ran and sought sanctuary at the riot police who quickly took him into a vehicle and sped off.

The Fatu Network understands the man was taken to the police intervention unit headquarters in Kanifing.

Darboe speaks again but this time UDP leader is calling on his supporters to ‘at all times’ abide by the law

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By Lamin Njie

UDP leader Ousainu Darboe has called on all members of his party to abide by the law at all times.

UDP leader unloaded on the Inspector General of Police on Friday after the police chief denied his party a permit to hold a rally in Brikama on Saturday.

A furious Mr Darboe said he was ready to return to Mile 2 as he will be in Brikama for the rally with or without the permit, comments that have emboldened his supporters to come out in their large numbers for Saturday’s rally, even if it means breaking the law.

Mr Darboe however in a statement late Friday said: “The history of the United Democratic Party, for almost a quarter of a century has been characterized by strict adherence to the laws of the Gambia, even during the darkest days of the dictatorship the Party always operated within the ambit of law.

“As a Party we are proud of our reputation as ‘’the rule of law Party’ and as the Secretary General and Party Leader I do not wish, after fighting for so long to bring democracy and the rule of law back to the Gambia only to now besmirch this image of the UDP.

“In respect of the IGP’s refusal to grant a Permit for the UDP rally scheduled for tomorrow Saturday 25th January 2020, in Brikama, I may have said some things in the heat of the moment a few hours ago that may be construed by some as advocating for the UDP to act outside the ambit of law.

“This was not my intention. I therefore wish to urge all UDP members and Party militants to at all times be law abiding be dignified and measured in their manifestations of support for the Party. I can reassure you that the Gambia will never again be governed in a dictatorial way.”

Tough-talking Darboe savages police chief as he reveals he is prepared to return to Mile 2

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By Lamin Njie

Ousainu Darboe spoke tough on Friday as he detailed how he was prepared to return to Mile 2.

Mr Darboe was jailed at Mile 2 in 2016 after he and top UDP figures took to the streets following the arrest and torture-death of Solo Sandeng, a member of UDP.

Mr Darboe on Friday said he was ready to return to the country’s hardest prison as he laid into police chief Mamour Jobe after he denied his party a permit to hold a rally in Brikama.

The UDP leader said: “We respect the law but we will not allow anybody to misuse the law against us. Because that discretion… You want to misuse that against us, we will not allow it.

“This country belongs to us. We liberated this country. If you see people can go and demonstrate today, it’s because of us. People used to be jailed here for merely applying to demonstrate.

“Tomorrow, let’s all meet there. If you want to… Mile 2 is not a place I am not familiar with. I know everywhere in there. I am prepared to go back there for this country, I am prepared to go back to Mile 2 so that the liberty of the people of The Gambia will be guaranteed. So that people will exercise their political right without undue interference.”

Police chief in trouble again as UDP vows to disregard permit denial and hold their Saturday rally

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By Lamin Njie

Police chief Mamour Jobe has been left to scratch his head again after the United Democratic Party announced they will press ahead with their rally on Saturday in Brikama.

UDP officials approached the police for a permit to hold a rally in Brikama on Saturday but sources have told The Fatu Network their permit request has hit stony ground. It has now emerged the party will hold its rally without authorisation.

Also on Friday, UDP leader Ousainu Darboe spoke on the permit issue saying his party will go ahead with their rally.

“They claim they don’t have enough men to come to the rally but I have the belief that they will have enough men to come and arrest us there,” Mr Darboe told party supporters on Friday.

It comes amid the police’s permit issuance woes.

In December, GDC clashed with the police after the latter denied the party a permit to hold rallies in URR. The police came under a barrage of criticism prompting them to reverse their decision.

Earlier this month, Operation Three Years Jotna also had their share of the permit hooha after their second request for a permit was denied. The police later rolled back their decision and gave the group a permit to stage a protest.

Name and profile of members of TFN Heroes Awards Awards Committee

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The Fatu Network Heroes Awards for 2019 will be held on 14 March 2020.

An awards committee has been set up charged with the responsibility of dispensing fair and unbiased judgement in recognizing exemplary Gambians.

The awards committee works independently from The Fatu Network, and The Fatu Network cannot make any decisions as to who should be awarded or not.

Below is the name and profile of all seven members of the committee;

NAHLA TAMBADOU

A trained administrator by profession (BA Business Administration), Nahla Tambadou specialized in Managing Projects and People with over 20 years of experience. She is quite passionate and driven by excellence and improving the lives of others.
She is an assistant Managing Director of Laico Gambia (owners of Atlantic Hotel), leading a team of highly motivated Managers through the opening and rebranding of the hotel after more than two years of closure.

She is also Director of Human Resources for Sheraton Branded hotels in West & Central Africa, Board Member of GTSC Gambia and an active member of SenegaloGambia Women’s Federation. These engagements all are driven by her passion for satisfactory service delivery.

Motivated by her interest in developing people she has mentored and placed many young and middle aged Gambians in hotel and related industries’ in countries where the Starwood/Mariott brand is present; from Africa, Middle East, UAE to as far as Tjikistan.
Her vision of make a meaningful impact in the lives of other people and instilling in the less fortunate a sense of dignity encouraged her to support charitable causes, empowerment of women through Islam whilst enjoying a full time employment, housekeeping, gardening and spending time with family and friends.

MUSU BAKOTO SAWO

Musu Bakoto Sawo is the National Coordinator for Think Young Women. She is also a trained human rights lawyer and a legal scholar who lectures at the University of The Gambia, Faculty of law. She is also the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission of The Gambia. She is a strong women and girls’ rights activist and has in-depth knowledge of human rights through her membership in different Community Based Organisation (CBOs) and in different capacities. She has translated this knowledge into capacity building, research, networking, programme development and practical engagement with human rights mechanisms and with grassroots, national, regional and international organisations and platforms. Her activism in the area of children and women’s rights spans more than 17 years. She holds an LLM in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa.

Musu is the recipient of the 2017 Vera Chirwa award by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in recognition of her work in advancing women’s rights in Africa especially on FGM and other harmful traditional practices. She is also the recipient of the 2018 Commonwealth Points of Lights for The Gambia from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. This award also recognises the work that she does for women and girls in The Gambia. Musu has also been recognised as one of the 100 most influential young persons in West Africa by the Confederation of West African Youths in 2018. In addition, UNICEF has identified and recognised Musu as a #CHANGEMAKER. Her most recent accolade is the ‘Inspiring Gambian Award 2018’ by the People’s Choice Award for Excellence in recognition of her work in the advancement of the rights of women and girls.

As a former child bride and a survivor of FGM, she has vowed to end the cycle of these harmful traditional practices in her generation.

FATOU AMIRAH MAMBOURAY

Fatou Amirah Mambouray was raised between the Washington, D.C. area and The Gambia which played a major role in shaping her vision and mission for the future of Africa. Solution oriented and eager to expand her insight as well as experience, she pursued her degree in International Relations and Development in London… further specializing in Sustainable Development and Renewable Energy. Now, after considerable experiences such as an internship at the American Embassy in Banjul and time spent working for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Fatou Amirah is a budding entrepreneur in The Gambia determined to shift societal norms in relation to Africa’s poor environmental habits.

GAYE SOWE

Mr. Gaye Sowe is Executive Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA).   He   has wealth of experience in human rights litigation. He is  an Expert Member of the African Commission Working Group on Economic Social and Cultural Rights and has made significant contributions in developing the jurisprudence of various African human rights mechanisms.

Before joining IHRDA in 2005, Mr. Sowe worked for the Gambian Judiciary from 1998 to 2005 as First Class Magistrate, Senior Magistrate, Principal Magistrate, Chairman of Banjul Industrial Tribunal and Acting Judicial Secretary.

Mr Sowe is a member of the Constitutional Review Commission of The Gambia and is also part of a team three lawyers currently reviewing and redrafting the criminal justice laws of The Gambia. He is a member of the Law Reform Commission of The Gambia and is the current Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency of The Gambia

Mr. Sowe was a member of the Steering Committee that set up the Law Faculty of the University of The Gambia and has been Adjunct Lecturer of the Law Faculty since it was  established. He was lecturer of Criminal Procedure at the Gambia Law School until 2015.

Mr. Sowe was called to the Gambian and Nigerian Bars in 2000. He holds an LLM from the University of Essex, an LLB (Hons) from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and a BL (Hons) from the Nigeria Law School. He is Adjunct Lecturer of Criminal Law at the University if The Gambia.

NENEH MC CHAM 

Neneh MC Cham is a Barrister and Solicitor in active private general legal practice for the past 20 years, throughout which period, she distinguished herself as one of the most prominent Human Rights Lawyers in the Gambia. She is a Legal Expert/ Consultant on Women and Children’s Rights.

Driven by her passion for the pursuit of justice for all and equal opportunities for women, children, the youth and vulnerable members of society, Neneh is particularly renowned for her work towards uplifting their legal and socio- economic status. This is demonstrated by the pro bono legal services she offers, as well as her active involvement in many professional bodies/ CSOs that share her passion and vision, both in the Gambia and abroad.

Her tenure as President of Female Lawyers Association- Gambia (FLAG), saw her register resounding success steering the affairs of the Association from 2011-2016. More recently in 2018, she served as Vice Chairperson of The Faraba Banta Commission of Inquiry established by His Excellency The President of The Republic of the Gambia.
Alongside her legal practice, she serves as Chairperson of National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA), member of the General Legal Council, Board member and legal Adviser to Gambia Women’s Chamber of Commerce (GWCC) and Forum for African Women Educationists (FAWEGAM). She is also fluent in French.

HATAB FADERA 

Hatab Fadera is an experienced media and communications professional. Over the years, he accumulated a wealth of experience in writing, editing, and publishing. Hatab joined the Public Diplomacy Section of the U.S. Embassy Banjul in August, 2015 as Cultural Affairs Assistant. He currently serves the Strategic Content and Media Coordinator at the US Embassy. Hatab studied at the University of The Gambia, graduating with Bachelor of Arts (Cum Laude) in Journalism. Prior to joining the Embassy, Hatab did media consultancy for some institutions and reported for a Swedish-based magazine. Between 2013 and 2015, Hatab served as the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Observer Newspaper. Between 2015 and 2018, Hatab served as a member of the Gambia Press Union Executive Board, the umbrella institution for all Gambian journalists. He has a strong understanding of the local media as well as an extensive knowledge of Gambian society and the political landscape.

PASTOR FORBES

Pastor Francis Forbes (55) is a Gambian, born to Gambian parents. From his early years Francis Forbes has been a high achiever with a strong desire to put his country on the map.
At the young age of fourteen, he won the WORLD PIANO PRIZE (Grade 3 Pianoforte – 1979 in Cardiff, Wales) which was a source of great pride for many Gambians at the time.
Francis Forbes attained his primary & secondary school leaving certificates in The Gambia and proceeded to pursue his university education in Nigeria (University of Nigeria, Nsukka [UNN], graduating with a B.Sc (Hons.) in Biochemistry. Sensing the call of God upon his return, he founded and started The Abiding Word Ministries – Gambia on Sunday November 5th, 1988, and has been consistent to his call and mission. He had prior become born again in August of 1979 in his native country.

For the past three decades he has carefully built his ministry with integrity and excellence, strengthening members to discover and utilize their God given potential. Many church members who have since moved on to different countries continue to give testimony to the impact of this phenomenal ministry in building them into the people that they are now.
Through his nationally popular and well-received weekly GRTS Telecast, “DISCOVERING TRUTH” Pastor Forbes has been able to reach people throughout the nation across socio-political lines for over two decades with messages on empowerment, national development, love for God and country, that have resonated deeply with many.

As a result, the name Pastor Forbes is now a household name, earning him the enviable title “The Nation’s Pastor”. DISCOVERING TRUTH has helped a lot of individuals and the nation as a whole to glean and implement the wise counsel he has so eloquently given on a weekly basis over the past 22 years. Pastor Forbes’ ability to consistently reach out with a message of hope to people across socio-political and religious lines has always placed him in unique positions to serve as an effective facilitator & mediator in many training as well as intermediary settings.

Pastor Forbes is a widely read and objective minister, whose integrity and sense of focus have been tested over time and proven untainted. A busy man, he travels regularly to fill international pulpit preaching/teaching and worship music ministry engagements and assignments.

Coaching, mentoring, advising, public speaking, counseling, are some of the other areas he fulfills God’s calling upon his life with infectious passion, simplicity and practicality, and great depth of insight, competence and 3 decades of ministry experience.
Pastor Forbes has also recently registered and started THE FORBES ACADEMY – a Public

Speaking Training & Mentoring institute for all aspiring public speakers, young and adult, and the transformative results are being widely acknowledged.

Pastor Forbes was decorated in April 2008 by the Gambian presidency with the National Insignia of MEMBER OF THE ORDER OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA (MRG), for his spiritual, religious, educational and evangelical efforts.

He is married to Angela, a human rights lawyer and international consultant, with whom he shares his ministry.

Breaking news: Niamina West national assembly member Dembo Sowe dies in Morocco

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By Lamin Njie

The national assembly member for Niamina West Demba Sowe died on Friday in Morocco, sources have told The Fatu Network.

The opposition GDC NAM was on a business trip to Morocco when he suddenly died. He was 40 years old.

More follows……..

Breaking: Police chief grants Three Years Jotna permit ahead of Sunday’s protest – but it’s valid for only three hours

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By Lamin Njie

Police chief Mamour Jobe has granted Operation Three Years Jotna a permit to stage a protest on Sunday to call for the resignation of President Adama Barrow.

Operation Three Years Jotna was soaked in a bitter push-and-pull with the police after the group announced it was ready to take to the streets without a permit. The police had earlier denied them a permit to protest for the second time in four weeks.

Government spokesperson Ebrima Sankareh in a statement on Friday said “following their second application for a peaceful demonstration, the Office of The Inspector General of Police has granted a ‘Peaceful Procession Permit’ to ‘Operation 3 Years Jotna’.”

The government spokesperson said: “Accordingly, The Gambia Government wishes to announce that ‘Operation 3 Years Jotna’ will be in peaceful procession on Sunday 26th January, 2020. Their permit is valid from 12:00 Noon to 2:00Pm. The procession begins from the Y-Junction on entering Bakau from Sting Corner, passes by Methodist Academy and turns right towards the Independence Stadium in Bakau.

“The Gambia Government hereby assures citizens and members of the public that their security and safety is paramount and cannot be compromised under any circumstances. Therefore, all are urged to remain law abiding and go about their normal businesses.

“Motorists as well as pedestrians are urged to maintain the designated lanes leaving the “Operation 3 Years Jotna” to use their exclusively assigned lane terminating at the gate behind the Score Board of the Independence Stadium.

“Therefore, any parallel demonstrations outside of the designated area constitute a serious violation of the permit and violators will face severe consequences.

“Members of the public are also urged to allow the peaceful procession to move on smoothly as anyone who interferes with the peaceful procession will be committing an offense, equally punishable under the law.

“Accordingly, The Gambia Government solicits the cooperation of all citizens and residents to remain calm for the maintenance of the peace and security of the country.

“Consistent with Government’s security preparedness mechanism, members of the public will notice increased security presence in their communities for the safety and security of everyone. All are strongly advised to cooperate fully with the security patrol teams.”

‘Back Way’: 24 Gambians including two female minors stranded in Libya return to Gambia after assistance from IOM

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Twenty-four Gambian migrants stranded in Libya returned home safely after they were assisted by the International Organization for Migration through the UN agency’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return Programme.

Among the 24 returnees were two female minors.

A statement from IOM on Friday said: “They first joined a total of 88 stranded migrants, including Malians and Guineans, on a charter flight from Tripoli to Bamako, then proceeded onward to Banjul. In the same evening, five Gambians stranded in Morocco were also assisted to return home.

“The returnees were provided temporary accommodation, meals and non-food item (NFI) kits containing essential supplies, such as hygiene material. The following day, they were issued arrival assistance cards, which they can use for temporary identification, and underwent a preliminary medical and psychosocial screening.

“After taking part in an orientation session on the process of receiving reintegration assistance, each of them received “pocket money” in Gambian Dalasi (worth EUR 65) to cover basic needs.

“Over the coming weeks, IOM will be working closely with government and development partners to ensure the returnees’ economic, social and psychosocial reintegration. Each will commence counselling sessions to tailor reintegration assistance to their specific needs, interests and skills, and based on the available opportunities in the country.

“This assistance may consist of support to set up or strengthen a small business, support to pursue education or vocational training, support for job insertion or referrals to other services, or other forms of support such as housing or psychosocial counselling. Returnees also have the option to team up for collective or community-based projects.

“Even though the number of Gambians stranded in Libya has decreased considerably since 2017, we deem it crucial to offer assistance to those who wish to return home but do not have the means to do so, particularly in light of the deteriorating situation in Libya,” expressed Fumiko Nagano, IOM’s Chief of Mission in The Gambia.

“Through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, IOM has assisted over 5,000 returnees, including over 3,000 from Libya alone. IOM continues to facilitate voluntary return from other countries, including over 500 returnees Niger in 2019.

“The Joint Initiative is funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and covers 26 African countries. The project aims to contribute to migration governance and to support the sustainable reintegration of returning migrants through an integrated approach, which addresses economic, social, and psychological dimensions and fosters the inclusion of communities in the process.”

Breaking news: Ecowas court rules Darboe and UDP top figures’ 2016 arrest was lawful but orders Gambia to pay them $100,000 ‘equally’ for violations of their rights

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By Lamin Njie

An Ecowas Court of Justice sitting in Abuja has ordered the Gambian state to pay the sum of $100,000 ‘equally’ to UDP leader Ousainou Darboe and nine other UDP top figures who were arrested in 2016.

UDP leaders including Mr Darboe took to the streets on 16 April 2016 following the arrest and torture-death of top activist Ebrima Solo Sandeng. The UDP figures later filed a case at the Ecowas court of justice seeking declaration from the court that their arrest was unlawful under the African charter on Human and People’s Rights.

They further asked the court to take action against their subsequent detention and torture.

Justice Edward Amoako Asante of Ghana in a ruling on 20 January in Abuja however held that their arrest was lawful and that it didn’t violate articles 5, 6 and 11 of the African charter.

The justice however ordered the Gambian state to pay the sum of $100,000 equally to the 1st (Ousainu Darboe), 3rd (Femi Peters), 4th (Lamin Dibba), 5th (Lamin Jatta), 15th (Fanta Darboe Jawara), 17th (Juguna Suso), 26th (Nogoi Njie), 27th (Fatoumatta Jawara), 28th (Fatou Camara), 30th (Ebrima Jadama) “for the hardships and violations of their human rights caused to them by agents of the respondents”.