Breaking News:President Jammeh blocks Freedom Newspaper IP Address following revelations on National Security!
Following revelations on disturbing security issues between the Gambia and Senegal, The Gambian Government has resorted to blocking the Freedom Newspaper IP address once again. The move was designed to deny Gambians acces to the widely read Newspaper. Our Correspondent Wise Man said he tried to access the Freedom Newspaper on numerous occasions but without success. We ran a lead story about two NIA agents and a Custom official who were arrested after they were accused of allowing rebels loyal to fugitive Colonel Ndure Cham to enter into the West African country. Sources close to GAMTEL said the President instructed them to block the Freedom Newspaper IP address since the papper according to these sources was “exposing matters of national security.” The government believes that the Freedom Newspaper recent story might cause wave of unrest, panic and anxiety among the Gambian populace. The US State Department and press freedom supporters are here informed about the “UnGodly act” taken by the Jammeh administration to deny Gambians access to reliable and credible Gambian news. This is the second time in a spand of two years that this government has blocked our IP address. Below is the story which angered the Gambian government. Please read on….

By Our Western Division Correspondent Wise Man,
Paid For And Commissioned by the Freedom Newspaper.

Two officials of Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency the (NIA) and a Custom border guard have been arrested after they were accused of allowing dissident rebels believed to have been sent by the fugitive Army Colonel  Ndure Cham to conduct secret operations in the Gambia, in a bid to strategize ways and means of wagging an arm resurrection against the Government of  The Gambia, highly placed State House sources told the Freedom Newspaper today. The arrested security officials posted at the Dasilami border post near the town of Brikama were identified as Sarjo Kuyateh, NIA operative, Musa Kebbeh, also an NIA operative and  Bolong Mara Sanneh, a  local Custom border agent. The men who were arrested this past week were accused of allowing “undercover dissident rebels” to enter into the Gambia’s territorial borders without proper screening, thereby endangering what the State House sources called” Gambia’s peace and stability.” NIA investigators say the dissidents were allegedly sent to survey key security instillations across the country by Colonel Ndure Cham, Captain Sana Bairo Sabally, Major Kalipha Bajinka and one Lieutenant Yankuba Badjie in a bid to launch an attack against the Gambia. The men in question are said to be residing in neighboring Senegal according to the NIA investigators. The three border security agents are currently helping the NIA in their investigations.

Arrest Operation in Brikama

Explaining how the arrests were effected, a loyal police source at the Brikama police station said an NIA agent came to their station and relayed to their Station officer that the border guards were needed at their Marina Parade offices in Banjul, in relation to reports that they “allowed rebels” acting on the orders of Ndure Cham and others to enter into the Gambia without the expressed permission of the Gambian authorities. The NIA officer who arrived with a motor bike at the Brikama police station, later joined the arresting team to the accused person’s  respective residences, where the border guards  were taken by surprise about the orders for their immediate arrest and detention. The NIA agent arrived at the station without a registration plate on his motor bike, was quoted as saying that the arrest of these men came from the President Yahya Jammeh. The intelligent agent then warned the Station officer to urge his reinforcement  team to be extra careful when arresting Sarjo Kuyateh, who was  said to be tall, strong, energetic and aggressive. Kuyateh was arrested without any form of resistance, as earlier anticipated by the NIA agent.

Musa Kebbeh lives in  Brikama Gidda,  whilst Bolong Mara Sanneh lives in Brikama Sanneh Kunda ward. On their arrival at Sanneh Kunda, the arresting officers were greeted by a curious crowd, mainly the young and the elderly. A sizable number of people gathered at Mr. Sanneh’s compound, where a naming ceremony was in progress at the material time. Sanneh’s wife delivered recently. The program was disrupted, when Mr.Sanneh was invited by the NIA officers, who relayed to him about orders for his immediate arrest. At the time armed paramilitary officials were on standby to effect his arrest. While the crowd helplessly watched by, Sanneh was asked to board a waiting vehicle and later taken to the NIA offices in Banjul.

At Mr. Kuyeteh’s compound his wife was met cooking in the  kitchen, where she was asked by the arresting team about the whereabouts of her husband. She responded by telling the NIA agents that Kuyateh was sleeping. The men then advanced into the room, where they forcefully woke up Kuyateh. Mr.Kuyateh was then informed about the orders for his arrest. He complied without any rancor. He was handcuffed and thrown into a waiting vehicle.

Prior to whisking them away to Banjul, the border agents were briefly placed in police cells at the Birkama Police station, where friends, relatives and close acquaintances were denied access to the detainees. Police would not allow anyone to get closer to the accused persons, not to mention securing them bail.

After languishing in police cells for about 30 minutes, a black Pajero truck later arrived at the Brikama Police station to receive the arrested border agents who were handcuffed at the material time. It was a somber moment. Wives and relatives of the detainees could be seen weeping. They cried at the top of their voices, as the black truck whisked the detainees away. Our Western Division Correspondent Wise Man interviewed families of the detainees, who informed him that the detainees were yet to be released by the Gambian authorities. The concerned families have prayed for the safe return of their loved ones.

NIA Says there is an imminent threat from Senegal

According to a preliminary report issued by the NIA and was declassified by a top agent of the institution, Dakar was being used as “save heaven for dissident soldiers led by Colonel Ndure Cham. The report also accuses the Wade Government of allowing Colonel Cham, Captain Sabally, Major Bajinka, LT.Badjie to use their soil for “subversive activities” against the democratically elected government of President Yahya Jammeh. The NIA  top official who wished not to be named said the Daily Observer recent editorial damning Dakar on their alleged “sinister plans to destibilize” the Gambia, with the Wade government allegedly  “providing sanctuary to Sarr and others  was as a result of the arrest of these rebels allegedly sent by Ndure Cham to survey the Gambia. The NIA official says so far their investigations have revealed that the arrested rebels were sent  by Cham, Sabally, Bajinka and Badjie to launch secret operations in the Gambia before advancing with their troops into the country. “We still cannot understand how these border guards allowed these people into the country. They are helping us  with our investigations. The arrested rebels have implicated Dakar in their statements. That I can tell you.” said the official.

The NIA top official said the arrest of these rebels might further strained relationship between the Gambia and the Senegal.” The men said there are troops being trained in Senegal to wage an attack in the Gambia. We wanted to parade them before the TV, but due to the revelations we heard so far the authorities have decided to approach the matter through diplomatic means. These borders guards had been accused of conspiracy to commit felony and treason. Our investigations linked them to negligence of duty.” said the NIA insider.

NIA Agents in Dakar to counter the alleged planned attack

According to the NIA official, following confessionary statements from the detained rebels, the Gambian leader who is the Commander of their agency has  instructed that some of their men to be posted in Dakar, Kolack, Tamba , Casamance and elsewhere across that French speaking country to further investigate and report to him about the plans to end his administration by men loyal to Ndure Cham. “As we speak, close to 70 NIA operatives are scattered in Senegal. Their mission is to monitor the activities of the dissidents and report directly to the President. They are also tasked with finding out the place, where the rebels are undergoing training. The President is very upset right now. He is very angry with President Wade.” said the NIA insider.

According to the NIA agent, the detained rebels said ” Ndure Cham’s men were posed to strike at anytime and that the President was increasingly worried by the said revelations.” The NIA insider said the Gambian Government is planning to protest to the United Nations about “Dakar’s move to welcome dissident rebels” into their soil. “The President has made so many phone calls and had vowed to tackle Senegal militarily if these men ever attempts to seize power by force. Due to the rebel’s confessions, we have beefed up security across the border. The President is worried as we speak.”

Custom officials shift intelligence failure to the NIA!!

Speaking in a telephone conversation, a top official of the Gambia Customs and Excise Department confirmed the arrest of their agent Bolong Mara Sanneh. The Custom official said their job was to ensure that all visitors into the country had valid Identity cards before they were given “Lessepasse” or entry permit. According to the agent, the intelligence failure squarely lies on the side of the NIA who should be present when visitors are being issued entry permit into the country. “If the NIA had done their job properly, these rebels could not have found their way into the country. We feel sorry for Mr.Sanneh and his family. He has nothing to do with what had happened. Our Directorate are not equally saddened by these developments. If you talk they said you are an opposition to the system, but the NIA should take the blame for allowing these rebels into the country.” said the Custom official.

The Custom official cited the March abortive coup and the NIA’S slow response to the incident. “This clearly shows that this country is not secured. If the Custom can be blamed for this incident, how come that the NIA could not detect the presence of these men into the country? Most of the NIA operatives posted at Jibora, Dasilami, Karang and other border posts hardly stayed at their guard post. In most cases, our men operate on their own. The NIA are no where to be seen. The NIA should set up a patrolling team to monitor their men posted at the border. It’s unfair for one to blame the Customs.” the official retorted.

Attempts to reach the Senegalese High Commissioner in Banjul for comments proved futile.

Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 (Archive on Monday, July 23, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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