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City of Banjul
Monday, September 21, 2020

Gambian journalist detained in Mali

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Kandeh is FPI’s editor-in-chief and The Gambia-based contributor for Global Voices Online as well as the publisher of The Gambia News Waves.

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He said he is being held “for no obvious reasons”.

“I have valid travel documents and I have not been told why I am detained,” Kandeh told FPI at 8am yesterday via telephone.

He was being held for more than two hours at the time, while on his way to Banjul.  His phone number is now unreachable.

The former Today Newspaper editor said he wanted his plight known for the simple reason that he committed no crime.

Mali is a member of the sub-regional economic bloc, Ecowas, which has a protocol that allows for the free movement of people. Respect for and the implementation of this protocol has been somewhat loose in member states.

His detention has been condemned by FPI “in the strongest terms” as they urged for his “immediate and unconditional release”.

“The Malian authorities should respect the provisions of the Ecowas Protocol which provides for the free movement of Ecowas citizens within the sub-region. They should release Mr Kandeh immediately,” said FPI’s news editor Modou Joof.

“We are concerned about his safety – bearing in mind the instability in that part of Mali, he added.”

Another colleague, Lamnin Jahateh, said: “I’m his colleague and we run a group blog together. I have no information why he was detained or when he left for Mali. Just this morning he called to say he was under detention at a Malian border town called Goundam. But he managed to make a call so that we can send alerts”. 

On Wednesday, the Mali government and rebel groups began meetings in Algiers to map out a peace agreement, 12 months after the country’s return to democracy. But its northern region continues to be plagued by violent clashes and suicide attacks.

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