Gambian Govâ€™t Bans Radio France International In The Gambia!!Govâ€™t Denies The Presence Of Al-Qaeda Terrorists Linked To The Murder Of French Tourists in The Country
RFI Accused of Professional Dishonesty
By Landing Badjie, Banjul
The Gambia Government has resumed its crackdown on the press, as it banned Radio France International relay FM Station, which is aired on state radio, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The decision to band the popular radio comes amidst a story reported by the Paris based Radio France International that the terrorists who murdered the four French Nationals in Mauritania escaped through Guinea Bissau to The Gambia. RFIâ€™S affiliate station in The Gambia has ceased to function since the reportage of the said story. The Government of The Gambia in a statement accuses RFI of â€œprofessional dishonesty and erroneous reporting. â€œ RFI is yet to react to the Governmentâ€™s accusations.
A release from the Department of State for Information, rebuffed the RFI story describing as it as erroneous. The Government says there was no terrorists from Mauritania and therefore strongly disputed the authenticity of the RFI story. It says it had accordingly drawn the attention of the RFI about the â€œerroneousâ€ story it reported about the Gambia.
The release says â€œfugitives, some of whom have been apprehended, escaped to Guinea Bissau through Senegal as reported over France Van Carte and the BBC. Therefore in line with the ethics of professional media, the Department of State for Communications, Information and Technology forwarded a fitting correction to the story by RFI.â€
RFI ceased to be on the airwaves since January 15TH 2008. Information Ministry sources say the decision to ban RFI in The Gambia emanates from the President. â€œ The Government has decided to suspend the operations of the RFI affiliate station housed by the Gambia Radio and Television Services for security reasons. The President was very upset when he heard on the radio that the killers of the French Nationals were harbored in the Gambia. His Government has been linked to welcoming Hezbollah terrorists into the country and they thought that the best way to punish RFI was to take off its relay station from the airwaves. He has given directive for all RFI programs to be suspended with immediate effect. SOS Gaye has since advised her staff to cease to broadcast RFI programs.â€ said a well placed source at the State House in Banjul.
Our source hinted that the Government was very alarmed by the said report. â€œ There are many Arabs in this country. Stories of such nature are bound to provoke an angry reaction from the authorities. They do not want to be associated with terrorist groups. What is evident is that there are Arabs from different backgrounds in this country. Whether the said terrorists are in the country or not, should be a subject of investigations.â€ said the official.
Just last week, Freedom Newspaperâ€™s columnist Town Crier reported about the presence of al-Qaeda in The Gambia. He warns Gambians to desist selling their lands to Arabs posing themselves as investors into the country. Town Crier reported that he spotted some of the Arabs along the sandy beaches of Banjul, whose presence into the country he said was questionable.
The Gambian Government has shifted its foreign policy to the Arab World. It signed diplomatic ties with Iran and other Arab countries linked to supporting terrorists. The Government maintains that no one would dictate to them, which country it should establish ties with. It insists that the Gambia is a sovereign nation which is free to befriend the Arab world.
Itâ€™s unclear if the BBC relay FM Station was included in the recent ban of RFI activities into the Gambia. Sources close to the GRTS said RFI has been ban in The Gambia. Up to the time of going to press, the decision to ban RFI in The Gambia has not been rescinded.
The French tourists were recently killed in Mauritania by terrorists believed to be having ties with Al-Qaeda, who according to the RFI fled to Guinea Bissau and then later to The Gambia.
The Government has reacted by closing RFIâ€™S relay FM Station. Listeners of the popular radio station have called on the government to reopen the radio. â€œ RFI is my favorite radio. I listened to its news and other programs. I donâ€™t listen to Radio Gambia because its news is all about promoting the President and his party. With RFI, we can get better idea about currents news and international events. I will really missed RFI. I hope the Government will consider reopening it. This is a sad day for The Gambia.â€ said Modou Gaye a fan of RFI.