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Thursday, June 13, 2024

One year on, veteran journalist Jongkunda still missing

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By Alagie Manneh

Veteran journalist Jongkunda Daffeh’s whereabouts are still a mystery, one year following his sudden disappearance.

Family members, colleagues and friends said they have searched in futility for the journalist who went missing in May last year.

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His brother Banding Daffeh, 57, told The Standard the family doubted whether the former AP news agency journalist is still alive.

“I personally believe he is not alive anymore,” Mr Daffeh said. “He would never stay outside that long even before he went missing and that’s why due to the longevity of this, we are now forced to believe my brother is dead somewhere. I believe he must have gone somewhere probably dangerous or unwelcoming and got killed. He was not feeling well at the time he went missing. Even if he is not dead now, he must be in a difficult situation.”

Mr Daffeh said here and then, those who knew Jongkunda would call in to report he has been spotted.

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“There’s a look-alike in town and whenever people see that guy, they would call me swearing that he is my missing brother. In most cases, it turned out it wasn’t him,” Banding said.

Describing his personality, Banding said Jongkunda, 70, was an intelligent and kind man who was generous to anyone who came his way.

“He was a very nice person who loved his family and friends,” he added. 

Jongkunda’s wife and children are still in the US, where he himself was based before his mental troubles that forced his return to The Gambia. 

“He was brought back because he wasn’t feeling well and after he felt a bit better, he went back to the US but his situation worsened and they brought him back. He has been here ever since until his disappearance,” Banding explained. 

He said the family is “so sad because his story is quite and deeply disturbing”.

“Wherever he is, I hope he finds peace,” he prayed. 

Historian Hassoum Ceesay, who said he made Jongkunda’s acquaintance in 1993, told The Standard “I miss him every day”.

Mr Ceesay said Jongkunda was a Gambian philosopher who was highly unexploited.

“I term him as one of The Gambia’s prodigal sons. He had one of the finest minds in this country. He came top in mathematics and physics in his sixth form class at Gambia High School. That’s how profound his mind was. He was extremely brilliant and somebody the country had never been able to make best use of. He was unexploited and unharvested, until his mind became dark or lost,” the historian said.

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