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NIA storms newspaper's printing offices, three journalists in hiding

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 19 June 2009, personnel of the notoriously feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA) stormed the printing house of the privately-owned "The Point" newspaper, halted the printing of the next edition and drove the workers out of the premises.

The latest action of the police comes in the wake of recent spate of arrests by the Agency of a number of journalists in connection with a June 11 statement by the Gambia Press Union (GPU), in which the union expressed reservations about President Yahya Jammeh's consistent slandering of Deyda Hydara, who was murdered by yet-to-be identified assailants.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) sources reported that the NIA has mounted a search for two journalists and an executive member of the GPU. In the case of the two journalists, they were warned by the NIA for continuously publishing their respective newspapers, though they claimed all the editors are in their detention.

Fabakary B. Ceesay, Baboucarr Senghore, senior reporters of "Foroyaa" and "The Point" newspaper respectively; and Buya Jammeh, an executive member of the GPU have reportedly been forced into hiding, following incessant threats of arrest by the NIA.

The NIA agents reportedly visited Ceesay's office but they did not meet him. They later followed up with a telephone call ordering him to report to the agency.

Meanwhile, Halifa Sallah, managing editor of "Foroyaa", who was invited to post a bail bond but was arrested by the NIA and detained for almost 24 hours, has been released on bail without charge.
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