List of witnesses, who were allegedly tortured by Gambian security agents during dictator Jammeh’s rule, after been accused being “informants” to the Freedom Newspaper and its proprietor Pa Nderry M’Bai, have been lined up to testify before Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC), Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The TRRC investigators have obtained statements from affected victims—some of whom are Gambian journalists. The witnesses told the TRRC that they were tortured while being interrogated at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Headquarters in Banjul. The Gambian state embarked on a hunting spree by arresting anyone suspected to having ties with the US based Freedom Newspaper.
The Freedom Newspaper was hacked back in 2006. Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at an attempt to smear exiled Gambian journalist Pa Nderry Mbai, the editor of the online Freedom Newspaper (http://www.freedomnewspaper.com), by hacking into his website and posting a false statement of allegiance to an associate of the president together with the names of all its subscribers, describing them as informers, Reporters without borders stated. https://rsf.org/en/news/online-newspaper-hacked-editor-smeared-and-subscribers-threatened
Among the journalists arrested were: Lamin Cham, Lamin Fatty, Malick Mboob and others. Soldiers suspected to be affiliated with the Freedom Newspaper were also arrested during that raiding spree. One of them with the last name Jammeh, was said to have been allegedly tortured during the NIA interrogations.
Omar Bah, who whose correspondences with Editor Mbai, were compromised by the hackers, had to flee for his life. He was briefly hosted in Ghana, before resettling into the United States.
” The TRRC has obtained statements from us. We are likely going to testify before the commission in coming weeks,” I was told.
The hackers used George Sarr’s Gambia Post mailing list, in which Editor M’Bai was subscribed to; to expose his emails and correspondences. George Sarr lives in Atlanta Georgia.
Some of the Freedom Newspaper newsletter subscribers and forum members were also asked to report to the nearest police station or risked being arrested.