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Gambia ALERT: Talk Show Host Rearrested, Whereabouts Uknown

Oct 4, 2023
Screengrab photo: Sisawo speaks on the Badinya Kaacha SO5 EP29 on Saturday September 30, 2023.

The Police in the Gambia have revoked the bail granted to Alagie Bora Sissawo, an online talk show host, and rearrested him this morning, according to the online news platform, Kerr Fatou, where his shows are aired.

Sisawo was asked to report to the Kairaba Police Station on Wednesday morning and told his bail is revoked. The police also seized his mobile phone and had him detained, the media house said in a post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter). His whereabouts are currently unknown.

“Alhagie Bora Sisawo Co-host on Badinya Kaacha on Kerr Fatou who had is bail revoked this morning at the Kairaba Police Station has been moved to a so far unknown location,” the medium wrote in another post. “A senior officer at the Kariaba Police Station confirmed he is no longer there and can only tell us to contact the office of the IGP [Inspector General of Police] for his whereabouts.”

Sisawo, a popular comedian, who is a co-host of the ‘Badinya Kaacha’, a talk show about family relations, culture and society, was arrested on 13 August for criticizing the President, Adama Barrow, and the Inspector General of Police, Abdoulie Sanyang.

At the time, he told the GPU he was questioned for a cumulative three hours on different dates over comments he made in one of his shows about the president and the police chief and the military coup in Niger. His phone was taken from him by the police for two hours during his three-day detention.

In the wake of the coup in Niger, Sisawo had expressed support for coups against “undemocratic and self-centered African governments” and also condemned the arrest of Senegalese citizens who protested against visiting President Macky Sall, and for saying that the IGP and President Barrow should be ashamed of themselves for arresting the Senegalese protesters, according to media reports.

He was eventually released on police bail without charge on 15 August.

“Sisawo’s rearrest and the decision to move him to an unknown location brought back memories of a very brutal dark past in policing and police activities in The Gambia. This behavior by the police doesn’t reflect in anyway claims of security sector reforms that began after the dictatorship,” GPU Secretary General, Modou S. Joof, said.

It is not clear what prompted his rearrest and the revocation of the bail that was granted to him. However, his rearrest comes barely 24 hours after the Gambian President Adama Barrow declared on 3rd October that “people charged with offences will be rearrested even if they are granted bail by a court of law” as he opens his party’s regional bureau in Jarra Soma, more than a 100km from the capital, Banjul.

“The Gambia Press Union (GPU) condemns Sisawo’s arrest in the strongest possible terms, and call for the immediate release of the comedian and media worker,” GPU President, Muhammed S. Bah, said.

“We are deeply worried by the frequent, unnecessary arrests, questioning and detention of Gambians by the police in relation to the criticisms of president or the inspector general of police. These are individuals expected to tolerate a great degree of criticism and manifest tolerance by virtue of the public positions they hold.”

The ‘Badinya Kaacha’ talk show, airing every Saturday, has been running for five years. It’s latest episode aired on September 30, 2023.

  • UPDATED to replace “is” with “in” 10th paragraph. Replaced “nature” with “virtue” in penultimate paragraph.
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