By Abdoulie John
Family members of the disappeared United States citizens in the Gambia are convinced that the Jammeh government is no longer ready to conduct an ‘appropriate investigation’ into the matter.
“While US State department is working with the families to shed light on their disappearance, the Gambia government is not doing enough to trace them,” Mai Badjie, wife of ‘disappeared’ Ebou Jobe, told this reporter.
Ebou Jobe and Alhagie Mamut Ceesay were reported missing since June 2013, leaving their families in total disarray and total confusion. Their continued disappearance has been brought to the attention of the world on December 4th by White House Spokeswoman. In a statement, Bernadette Meehan decried the fact that ‘the Gambia has failed to investigate’ the whereabouts of Ebou Jobe and Alhagie Ceesay.
Seventeen months later, the wife of Ebou Jobe, has decided to come forward with a shocking account of her husband’s ordeal along with his companion and friend Alhagie Mamut Ceesay.
Mai Badjie said they both boarded Brussels airlines flight from Newark (US) to Dakar (Senegal) in May 2013. “There, they travelled by car to Banjul, the Gambia,” she added. “I last spoke to him on June 23, 2013.”
She said they have both lived in the USA for more than ten years, and they resolved to go back to Gambia to do business.
“They are both chief breadwinners of their families, and their enforced disappearance continues to haunt all those left behind.”
Mai Badjie said their plight is being ignored by the Gambia government as it keeps denying that the two US citizens are in custody of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). “We heard from reliable sources that they are there (at the NIA), but we never have contact with them. They’ve been held incommunicado.”
The tiny West African country is often spotlighted by the media for gross human rights violations. President Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in a military coup, continues to make headlines with his anti-West diatribe. His 20-year rule has been marred by summary executions, enforced disappearances, and continuous clamp down on the opposition and the media.