By Yankuba Jallow
The Gambia Press Union has issued a press release called on the Inspector General of Police to investigate into alleged assault on the cameraman of Eye Africa online television.
Bubacarr Manga, a cameraman of Eye Africa was allegedly slapped by a personnel of the Police Intervention Unit on Sunday, 22 September 2018, while at a meeting organised by a group of teachers in Abuko.
According to the release, the Press Union called on personnel of the Gambia Police Force to stop attacks on journalists in the Gambia.
“The GPU condemns, in the strongest terms possible, this alleged outrageous conduct of a Police Intervention Unit (PIU) officer,” said GPU President, Sheriff Bojang Jr.
Mr Manga told the GPU that at the time of the assault, he was standing next to his ‘big’ camera and ‘big’ tripod and was wearing his press badge around his neck, so he couldn’t have been mistaken for anybody else. Besides, there was no confrontation or chaos between the PIU officers and the teachers at the time of the incident.
Bojang said this is not the first time attack on journalists occurred, adding that last month, officials of the GPU had paid a courtesy call on the Inspector General of Police to discuss the safety and security of media practitioners in the country.
He recounted that the meeting followed an alleged assault by former ruling APRC party supporters on GRTS news crew during the funeral proceedings of Asombi Bojang, the mother of exiled ex-president, Yahya Jammeh.
Also, before that, Pa Modou Bojang, a Brikama-based journalist was allegedly beaten by members of the Police Intervention Unit during the June 2018 Faraba incident.
So far, in all these cases against journalists, the police have not made any arrest despite the promise by the IGP that investigations were open in each of the cases.
“It is prudent that the Gambia Police Force now act decisively to ensure those accused of their grave crimes against journalists are brought to book in the interest of both the credibility of the GPF and the safety and security of journalists”, the GPU president said.
The GPU executive promised that they will leave no stone unturned in making sure that the case of Bubacarr Manga, and those of others are pursued to their logical conclusion.
“It will no longer be business as usual for journalists to be harmed and there’s no justice,” the release stated.
Meanwhile, the proprietor Eye Africa, Mr Lamin Kanteh, told Foroyaa yesterday that Mr Manga has received treatment and is recovering.