Lamin Cham, CEO of Champion Sounds Production, music promoter and host of Saff Connect on The Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) has not been seen or heard from by family members and friends since Monday June 1, 2015. With the unpleasant memories of the mysterious disappearances of people like Kanyiba Kanyi, Massey Jammeh, Harona Jammeh, Alhaji Mamud Cessay and Ebou Jobe (the two US Citizens still missing in The Gambia) still fresh in the minds of Gambians, this news could not have come at a worse time. As days go by, anxiety is understandably growing.
Lamin Cham who also manages Titi, a famous Senegalese musician, was planning to go on a European tour with the singer and her entire band. According to sources, the tour party has all had all visas processed and expected to leave Dakar Thursday night, June 4 for Germany where the tour is expected to start. Members of Titi’s Band got suspicious after calling both of Lamin Cham’s cell phones without success. Both phones are switched off, his viber and Whatsapp show his status as June 1 being the last date he was online. As manager of the team, the contracts and every detail of the tour is said to have been with Lamin Cham.
Sources in Banjul have disclosed that he was picked up by seven members of President Yahya Jammeh’s assassin team, ‘The Junglers’ at his residence in Sukuta, near the coastal road. Sources added that all seven men wore black during the arrest and drove in a numberless pick up truck. Since his pick up, no word has been issued by the government about him.
The Champion DJ, as he is fondly called, is a close friend of the embattled Ram Daan lead singer, Thione Seck. He makes no secret of his loyalty to the singer and often posts photos of the two of them on his personal facebook page. Thione is currently in the Senegalese prison, Reubuss, charged with economic crimes in connection with fake bank notes found at his residence in Dakar. Mr Seck’s wife and entire family have been asked to leave his house whilst investigations are going on. Many Gambians are suspicious that President Jammeh might have a hand in the Thione Seck saga, but there is no evidence of his involvement as at now. Observers have noted that if Champion’s illegal arrest is in connection to that ongoing case, the government should first acknowledge his arrest, then proceed to respect his constitutional rights by allowing him access to legal counsel and charging him within 72 hours of his detention if he is found to be involved in any crime rather than maintaining the status quo. One of them quips “but knowing the state of affairs in The Gambia, no one should hold his/her nose on that prospect. Senegal meanwhile is according Thione with all his legal rights – what a sharp contrast”.
Champion DJ won many awards both in and outside The Gambia for his invaluable contribution to the promotion of The Gambian music industry. In 2009, he won the music promoter of the year award at a gala dinner at The Kairaba Hotel in Kololi. We will be keeping an eye on this matter as human rights groups are also being notified.