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Sunday, February 28, 2021

UTG lecturer detained

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Mr Jaw who is also an administrative assistant at the UTG was reportedly arrested by operatives of the National Intelligence Agency on Wednesday, November 6, and has since not been released. 

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Sources close to the young Gambian activist said officers from the intelligence agency picked him up. The reason behind Sait’s troubles with the state has been a subject of speculation amid no official confirmation, but widely linked to a research work project he has been involved in. 

Meanwhile, his arrest and detention has triggered a spirited #FreeSaitMattyJaw campaign on the social media. 

Mai Fatty, the leader of opposition GMC party wrote: “In our engagement with the Offices of the Director-General of the NIA and the Inspector-General of Police, both denied being in custody of Mr Sait Matty Jaw. In our official contacts with the Ministries of Justice and the Interior, both also denied any knowledge of the arrest and/or unlawful detention of Mr Jaw. Notwithstanding their inexplicable denials, actionable information confirmed very restricted affinity access to him under unlawful custody at the NIA. We urge The Gambia Government to release him with immediate effect, in compliance with the law.”

Bakary Badjie, a child rights activist said: “Come to think of it, what can Sait, that harmless, soft-spoken, intelligent and truly patriotic young man do that can be a threat to our country’s security to warrant a more than 72 hours questioning and detention at NIA?…”

Also writing on his Facebook page, Madi Jobarteh, a renowned activist said: “Sait Matty Jaw is a promising young man with a strong sense of purpose and direction that endears him to anyone who comes across him. I have known Mr Jaw for almost five years and since then he has proven that indeed our society still has a positive future in our youth who are generally known for vanity and indulgence in popular culture.”

A Muwali Dake, a resident of the US, has meanwhile provided an update to the #FreeSaitMattyJaw campaigners. She writes: “I want to assure you that a group of committed colleagues in The Gambia are working hard behind the scenes on the ground to ensure his safety & release. For strategic & tactical reasons, we would like to explore non-combative options for a negotiated release…”

Sait Matty holds a master’s degree in African History from the University of The Gambia. He graduated with a BSC in Political Science in 2011, and was the secretary general of the UTG student union until April 2011. He is also a youth activist; a leading member and adviser to associations such as Lend-a-Hand-Society, Activista, and Think Young Women.

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