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Two newspaper journalists briefly detained, one charged with sedition

(MFWA/IFEX) - Abdulhamid Adiomoh and Pa Bajika, Nigerian publisher and reporter, respectively, for the privately-owned Banjul-based "Today Newspaper", were on 17 July 2008 arrested and briefly detained at the headquarters of The Gambian Police Force over a story that the paper published.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) sources reported that the two were subjected to hours of questioning in relation to a story with photographs of some school children in The Gambia who often abandon their classroom to go in search of metal scraps from a dump site. According to the newspaper, the students would then sell the scrap metals to dealers.

The sources said Bajika, who wrote the story, was released and asked to report on 21 July together with Adiomoh, who was granted bail in the sum of 20,000 Gambian dalasi (approx. US$952) and one surety. However, when they reported to police, Adiomoh was charged with a count of "publishing with seditious intention".

Adiomoh reportedly told MFWA sources that during the questioning he was warned to be careful about the kinds of news items that the "Today Newspaper" publishes.

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