The woman who exposed the mistreatment of a 10-year-old girl has become news herself. Aminata Manneh, a third year university gender activist student and intern at an intern at the American Corner in Banjul, disappeared after she posted the video of a traffic police man beating the helpless young girl went viral last night. The video invited so many comments on the social media – home and abroad. Among those expressing concern about the disturbing video was Jeffrey Smith of Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights in New York who twitted thus: “Just saw a highly disturbing video of a Gambia police officer beating a young school girl in broad daylight. Sadly not an uncommon episode.’’
Aminata soon started to get anonymous calls and Facebook messages, with all of them demanding to meet her urgently. Aminata’s family could neither locate her, nor reach her on the phone, despite repeated calls.
The case of the gender activist is not a rare coincidence in a country where security officers have been known for kidnapping, arbitrary arrest and detention, especially the government’s perceived enemies. It is against this background that accusing fingers have been pointed at the National Intelligence Agents.
It all started while Aminata was on her way to work on Monday, when she saw the police officer repeatedly canning a young girl. Her conscience would not allow her to leave without taking video of the horrible incident. She then shared it with her close to 5,000 followers. Aminata shared the video with a comment asking since when does a traffic police officer have a right to lay a hand on a young schoolgirl? What has become of our authorities?”
Aminata is admired for her steadfastness in defending the rights of people. Her family is appealing to Gambian authorities to help them establish Aminata’s whereabouts.