UTGFSA urges IGP to apologise

Monday, February 05, 2018

The University of the Gambia Faculty and Staff Association (UTGFSA) has responded to a press release issued by The Gambia Police Force (GPF) dated the 1st of February 2018 as regards to the arbitrary arrest of Dr. Ismala Ceesay, a political science lecturer, thus requesting an apology from the police.

The UTGFSA urges IGP to do the right thing and apologise to Dr. Ceesay for infringing upon his rights.

The press release stated that following an appeal by the police to disperse the crowd that formed at the entrance of the Police Headquarters in Banjul in the early hours of the Feb. 1, demanding Dr. Ceesay’s unconditional release with a public apology, senior police officers including the police PRO in attendance had given their word that charges have been withdrawn and that the police will apologise. However, the press release issued a few hours afterwards did not only contradict that promise but it was also full of misinformation.

The release claimed that; “Dr. Ceesay was interviewed until 22:00 hours when he was granted self-bail which he declined to accept”.

This is a clear misinformation. First of all, it doesn’t follow logic that someone who has merely been invited to be interviewed and not arrested and detained could be granted self-bail. The fact is that Dr. Ismaila Ceesay was invited for questioning on the 31st of January, 2018 around 13:30 p.m., interrogated for three hours and later put behind bars for 5 hours with no explanation offered on his detention. Meanwhile, friends and family including his ailing mother demanded some explanation from both the officers at the Interpol and the Serious Crime Unit where they all denied knowledge of who ordered his detention or why in fact he was detained. It is one thing to be called for questioning and allowed to leave when that is done, and quite another to be put away in a cage as if you were a criminal or a dangerous animal and no one willing to explain why that was happening.

We would like to close this statement with a quotation from a respectable historian and political scientist Prof. Abdoulaye Saine of the United States, “Dr. Ismaila Ceesy’s comments are a thoughtful and succinct assessment of the troubling security environment in the Gambia. Ceesay should be applauded, and tapped for a senior security advisory position, rather than arrested for raising a national security dilemma that is apparent to most observers. Clearly, Ceesay is being singled out; as he is not the first to express these concerns- speak to any Gambian. The troubling practice under Barrow of retaining, and rehiring key Jammeh loyalists in top security posts, is routinely discussed among specialists, and laypersons alike, I am still at a loss, as to how two Jammeh loyalists from Equatorial Guinea could so easily breach security protocols at the national airport. It is a fact that the Gambia’s security apparatus have been sidelined by ECOMIG forces- a recipe for future instability.”

Author: Momodou Jawo