The Spokesman of the ECOWAS Mission in the Gambia (ECOMIG) has responded to an incident involving a journalists and ECOMIG on Wednesday at Kololi.
Read below Commander Andy La-Anyane’s full response to the incident.
ECOMIG has read an account of an incident that happened at the seat of the President of the Republic of the Gambia as published by the Freedom online newspaper of 2 November 2017. The story as allegedly told by one Fabakary Ceesay, a journalist who claims to cover activities at the presidency, indicates that he was assaulted by an ECOMIG security personnel after he admitted arriving late at the office of the president to cover an assignment.
We wish to place on record that ECOMIG has had a very good working relations with the Gambian media and we cherish this cordial relations so much. We will do whatever it takes to maintain such good working relations with the Gambia media. We acknowledge the role they play in the developmental agenda of any country, Gambia being no exception.
We will however wish to state that the above notwithstanding, we will at all times work professionally to safeguard the security of the president and the seat of government as established in our mandate without favour or ill will.
It is important to establish the fact that protocols at all levels are set of guidelines that are intended to guide our activities. The fact that one is a journalist does not mean protocols at the seat of the president would be relaxed for such an individual. If you are required to cover an assignment where the president is to attend, courtesy requires that you arrive at the appropriate time before the president takes his seat. This is international standards.
Mr. Fabakary Ceesay admits that he arrived late to the function when the president was already seated and wanted to have access to the venue at all cost. No trained security personnel will allow that to happen. He further admits exchanging blows with the security personnel of the president. REALLY!! This is his own narrative “While I step back to pick my bag and then this ECOMIC- Senegalese officer came and pulled my bag and said the hall is full. I told him since he is outside he cannot say so because the protocol officer asked us to enter. He pushed me and I too pushed him. He hit me on my chest saying since in the morning, I saw you arguing with our colleagues in a rude way. I responded back that he too is rude then he hit me again; I hit him back. We exchanged few blows then two of his colleagues joined him to drag me out till I sustained injuries on my finger in front of lots of people”. Wonderful!!
Obviously the soldier was acting in accordance with standard operating procedures. ECOMIG wish to advise that we will do whatever it takes to safeguard our cherished working relations with the media but we will not compromise on the security of the president. We hope this incident will be the last to be heard and we will all do well to report on time to functions, especially ones that the president or the Vice president will be attending.
Commander Andy La-Anyane