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NIA questions newspaper editor over "strange" telephone calls

(MFWA/IFEX) - Ousman Kagbo, editor-in-chief of "Business Digest", an independent Banjul-based newspaper, was questioned by the notorious and much-feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA) on 3 October 2008, after it was alleged he'd received "strange" telephone calls from persons whom the authorities claimed were a threat to the security of the Gambia.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) sources reported that Kagbo was questioned for about an hour at NIA headquarters and asked to give reasons for his numerous international calls, specifically from two Senegalese whom the NIA claimed were on their monitoring list. The editor has denied knowledge of the two men.

Kagbo, a Sierra Leonean national, was not charged with any offence and was allowed to go home after his written statement was taken.

MFWA sources said observers believe that the move by the NIA was an intimidation attempt meant to instill fear in the journalist as part of a plan to undermine media freedom in the Gambia.

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