The ‘disappearance’ of ailing radio journalist Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay has sparked concerns and set off fears over a deadly fate.
“It is confusing as well as hard to believe that he escaped from hisvhospital bed. The government needs to come up with a more credible explanation if they want people to believe the story,” veteran Gambian journalist Demba Ali Jawo told this reporter.
The news that Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay is no more in State custody broke out during last Thursday’s court hearing in which a prison officer was quoted by local as saying that the radio journalist escaped while undergoing emergency treatment at Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul. This follows reports suggesting that the Taranga FM manager allegedly succumbed to torture.
Mr. Jawo drew comparison to the case of former Director of the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Daba Marenah who was reported on the run together with a group of soldiers linked with 2006 abortive coup d’Etat.
“This is similar to the case of Daba Marenah and co when they were said to have escaped 10 years ago and there is still no news of them,” he voiced out.
Sources cited by the Accra-based Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) have indicated that Ceesay was reportedly taken to hospital on April 12, 2016 and was reported missing from the hospital on April 20.
“While newspaper and official reports claim Ceesay has escaped from the hospital, many believe he has been killed,” said MFWA in a statement issued today.
A medical personnel in Banjul who spoke to this reporter under anonymity for fear of reprisals, debunked the information leaked in court by prison officers. “Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay was under constant surveillance and chances for him to escape were very little,” she said.
Over the past eight months, Ceesay has been standing trial at Banjul High Court. He was charged with sedition and false news. He was reportedly being subjected to torture and other degradating treatment by the NIA.