Thursday, January 8, 2015

Lawyer confirms Senegal’s ‘expulsion’ of Gambian opposition leader

Sheikh Sidia Bayo speaking to Senegalese media (Photo taken from Twitter)
“We received an official notification from the Senegalese authorities that my client [Sheikh Sidia] Bayo will be expelled in the coming hours from Senegal,” his lawyer, Assane Dioma Ndiaye, is quoted as saying by Reuters on Monday.

Reports in Dakar, the capital of Gambia‘s neighbour, Senegal, are that the government is preparing to deport Bayo, a France-based Gambian and leader of the National Transitional Council of The Gambia (NTCG) – after he called for an overthrow the Gambian regime.

Senegal’s decision follows a December 30, 2014 armed group attack on the presidential palace in Banjul, the capital overnight – with heavy gunfire that lasted hours – President Yahya Jammeh was out of the country, and it was repelled.

Mr. Bayo, who frequently visits Dakar, would be the second Gambian and third African to be expelled by the Macky Sall administration in less than a year.

In April 2013, Gambian dissident Kukoi Samba Sanyang was deported to Bamako, the Malian capital. He died in June at the age of 61 after he was briefly admitted at a hospital in that country and was flown back to Senegal and buried at a Dakar neighbourhood of Yoff at the expense of Sall’s Government.

Kukoi led a rebellion in The Gambia in 1981 at the age of 29 and declared himself Head of State before being ousted by Senegalese troops within a week.

In May 2013, the second expulsion was handed to a Chadian journalist and blogger, Makaila Nguebla whose blog is considered “highly critical” of the Government of President Idriss Deby. His deportation to Guinea Conakry was condemned in the “strongest terms” by a Network of Journalists and Bloggers in Senegal.

Senegalese authorities had accused Nguebla of having links to people accused of a “destabilisation plot” in his home country, allegations he denied. Nguebla moved to France in July 2013 from Conakry with the help of human rights campaigners.

On August 12, 2013, the Sall government also “threatened to expel” Gambian freelance journalist, Abubacarr Saidykhan, if he continue to be opposed to the Jammeh regime in The Gambia, according to reports.

Writing under the headline ‘Senegal’s Democratic Tradition Takes Worrisome Turn’  Anna Gueye said: “Senegal has a solid tradition of democracy and protection of freedom of expression and human rights.”

But, she said, recent months have seen the West African nation’s reputation as a stronghold for democracy in Africa “seriously damaged” with the evictions of a Chadian journalist and Gambian dissident, both opponents of the governments in their home countries.

“Senegal: No longer a sanctuary for African dissidents: The West African State has adopted a policy of expelling African refugees critical of their home countries,” Gambian journalist and blogger, Modou S. Joof, wrote in January 2014 about the expulsions.

Source: Front Page International (FPI) 

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