Tuesday, November 2, 2010

INVESTIGATIONS INTO DEYDA'S DEATH STILL ON SAYS INTERIOR MINISTER



As Chief Manneh and Kanyiba Kanyi Fate Remains Uncertain

Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) “The case of Deyda Hydara is still undergoing investigation, however, there are challenges because the two key witnesses in this case are outside the jurisdiction and several attempts to
reach them have been unsuccessful. Once the investigation is concluded, the culprits will be brought to justice,” the Minister of Interior said on Thursday 8th April, 2010.

Ousman Sonko was responding to a question raised by the National Assembly Member for Wuli West, Sidia Jatta as to what effort are being made to Investigate the death of Deyda Hydara and the disappearance of Chief Ebrima Manneh and Kanyiba during Question and Answer time in the 2010 Legislative Session at the National Assembly in Banjul.

“In the case of Chief Ebrima Manneh, the Government has investigated his whereabouts but to no avail. It has even launched an appeal to the public so that anyone who has any information to provide same to the police,” Sonko told lawmakers.

According to him, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in 2009 also conducted a personal visit to the country’s Prison and Detention Centres of the National Intelligence Agency together with the leader of the leading Opposition Party, UDP and the Minority Leader at the National Assembly in search of missing
people like Kanyiba Kanyi and Chief Ebrima Manneh but they were not in these institutions and were not registered in their dairies. “These were unannounced visits,” he noted.

On his part, Hon. Momodou L.K. Sanneh of Kiang West made reference to UDP’s application addressed to the Inspector General of Police requesting for permit to use public address system in their mass political rallies which were dated as follows; 24th February 2009, 28th April 2009, 5th May 2009 and 21st May 2009
which were all rejected by the Inspector General of Police without any explanation.

Sanneh asked the Minister of Interior to inform the National Assembly the legal or constitutional authority that the Inspector General is acting in rejecting their permits.

In reply, Hon. Ousman Sonko said the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia provides and guarantees rights, freedom to assemble and freedom of association, noting that Chapter 4 Section 25(d) provides that “Every person shall have the right to freedom to assemble and demonstrate peacefully and
without arms.” Similarly, Section 25(e) provides “freedom of association, which shall include freedom to form and join association and Union, including Political Parties and Trade Unions”.

However, Hon. Sonko noted that taking into consideration Section 17(2) of the same Constitution all the rights and freedoms enshrined therein are subject to the respect for the right and freedom of other and for the public interest.

According to him, the police engagements in other duties of threat to national security during these periods were very high. Therefore the police could not provide sufficient personnel on the ground to ensure peaceful conduct of the meetings.

“Consequently, the office of the Inspector General of police deemed it fit and proper not to approve the application as required by the applicant, in the public interest,” he said. 

Chief Manneh was allegedly picked up at his office, the Daily Observer on 7th July 2006 and until date, his whereabouts is unknown. The ECOWAS Court ruled in his favour in 2008 that the Government release hm and pay him $100, 000 after several summons at the Abuja Court, which the Government did not attend. In 2009, the then Minister of Justice, Marie Saine Firdaus debunk claims that he is in government's custody. VOL:2 ISSN: 158

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