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Gov't Must Not Remain Silent - Halifa Sallah

Feb 11, 2009, 2:26 AM | Article By: Baboucarr Senghore

Mr. Halifa Sallah, the presidential candidate for the opposition NADD in the 2001 presidential elections who is also the director of the Peoples Centre for Research, Science and Sociology, has spoken from the basis of his personal intervention and concern of the rights of the African people that the government must not remain silent on the present situation facing the country.

"The government has a choice to make but people like me are not making it out of political pronouncement but as a personal concern as a human being. I will not allow anybody to be subjected to degradation while I am alive," he said.

"I am a Pan-Africanist and I feel offended that black people are calling each other witches. Why should we as Africans turn our fingers at our own citizenry and try to tarnish their image and put stigma on them," he said.

These comments by Mr Sallah come amid growing concern among the general public and concerned individuals as the media continues to report witchcraft activities taking place in some parts of the country.

Speaking at a press conference held at the People's Centre in Churchill's Town yesterday, Mr Sallah said that injustice anywhere should be the concern of human beings everywhere as this is the only way that we can create an order where fundamental rights are respected and liberty, peace and security of persons guaranteed.

The purpose of the press conference, he noted, was to acquaint the nation and humanity at large with certain developments, which 'must stop and have to stop because it constitutes fundamental violations of rights and freedoms of many of our citizens'.

He called on the state to make a statement and to put a stop to what is currently happening in the country. This, he added, is that "a group of people are moving about dressed in red beating drums and some of them posing, I am using the word posing because the state is yet to tell us whether those people are actually military people or they are pretending to be military people".

According to Halifa Sallah, he was approached last Sunday by a man called Dodou Sanyang, a man who was literally disturbed, whose mother departed to the GPMB depot at Barra to process groundnuts with a view to earning a living with her colleagues only to be abducted by a group of people.

"They were forcefully put in a bus with other people and then taken to the ferry and since then, the family have not known his whereabouts. According to her son Dodou, they were taken to a compound called "Baba Jobe's Compound" in Kololi where they were given a concoction to drink which in itself is a violation of their rights".

He opined that the state must tell us whether these people are people sent by the state or not. "It must either associate or disassociate itself but it cannot remain silent and we will not allow the government to remain silent on this matter. I have put the case before them to the highest authority so that something can be done and I am listening to what is going to happen," he said.

For Mr Sallah, what is happening in this country is not a partisan thing. "Everybody is affected and it appears that these people are continuing and this is what must stop. I am calling on the government to make a statement on this issue and stop it now".

"This," he went on, "has happened in Jambur where the Imam and the people of the village have undergone serious suffering.

"This thing must stop; if they use the radio or television to denounce it, then they have disassociated themselves but if they fail to do so then the matter will be documented and it will get to ECOWAS, AU and the UN so that they know that all forms of human rights violations are taking place and investigations should be carried out."

He noted that his final decision, if such type of violations continue, would be to resign from Foroyaa and register a human rights NGO so that every violation of rights that is carried out in this country will be monitored, documented and pursued not for any opportunist reason.