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City of Banjul
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Malian gendarmes release Gambian journalist

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Kandeh, Front Page International (FPI) editor-in-chief and former Today newspaper editor who was “being held for no obvious reason” according to FPI, was released on Friday and is reported to have arrived in The Gambia since.

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He told The Standard yesterday: “I was on a private visit to Bamako and stayed there for a week. I was detained for a little over two hours and then released unharmed. While under detention, all my documents were seized and my hand luggage was also searched by the authorities. My digital camera was also checked. Apparently, the authorities found nothing abnormal”.

Asked why he was detained by the border guards, Kandeh replied: “It all started when I request explanation for a so-called border transit fees of 6000 CFA francs. I also wanted to know whether if I paid the money I will get a receipt in return. My question seemed to have angered the officer and he ordered for my detention behind bars. I complied, and stood behind bars.

Meanwhile, FPI welcomes his release from illegal detention and called on the Malian government to address the “criminal and unprofessional conduct” of its border guards.

“The role of security officials at border posts is to ensure safety and security of travelers and not to rip them off of their monies or belongings,” said FPI news editor Modou Joof.

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.

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