|Gambian Muslim cleric, Imam Bakawsu Fofana was detained in June 2012|
A popular Gambian Muslim cleric, Imam Bakawsu Fofana is reported to have fled the country.
A neighbor who wished not to be named told The Voice on Monday August 27 “the Imam crossed the Gambian border on Sunday into the Southern Senegal region of Casamance to seek for refuge.”
While on a routine reporting to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) almost on a weekly basis since June 2012, followinghis release from detention, Bakawsu managed to escape reported attempts by theagency to re-arrest him on August 14.
According to him, the preacher whose Islamic propagation method is given a dim view by the powers that be “fled for his life after numerous threats he received on his cell phone.”
Efforts to verify this latest twist on the story evolving around the religious leader remain fruitless as his family could not be reached.
Last week, his younger brother, Mr. Omar Fofana confirmed speaking to Bakawsu once since his disappearance. He promised to reappear after 30 days of seclusion as he was performing “special prayers.”
“I only communicated with him once on the phone on Thursday. He promised to come out when he finish his special prayers (after the Eid-al-Fitr – Muslim feast),” Omar said of his brother who was earlier banned by the Supreme Islamic Council (SIC).
“He never returned following his disappearance. We don’t know about his whereabouts,” one of his “Talibs” (students) said. “It is not clear whether he will come back in time for the resumption of our lessons by mid September but I think it is right to flee if he can’t have the freedom to propagate Islam here.”
In late 2010 the SIC also ordered for the withdrawal of Bakawsu’s audio records on sale in the market. The ban also included the use of broadcast media. His ban was lifted by Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh early2011, who strictly warned him to desist from his style of propagation.
Rights advocates called the ban a violation of free expression.
Source: The Voice