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'The Gambia vindicated'

Jan 14, 2010, 12:24 PM | Article By: Abba A.S. Gibba

Following international media reports of the deportation of a Jamaican-born Muslim cleric to The Gambia, which the Gambia government described as "malicious, unfounded and misleading", it has been established by international media quoting the Kenyan government on Monday, that the man had never landed on the shores of The Gambia.  

"Any airline who dares to fly this said Abdullah Al-Faisal to the Gambia will be impounded and those responsible will be charged for terrorist crimes against The Gambia, and be prosecuted to the letter," the Gambia government warns in press release issued on Tuesday 11th January 2010.

"All statements alluding to the arrival in The Gambia of Abdullah AL-Faisal are absolutely false and an insult to the peace loving people of the Gambia. Furthermore, there has never been any contact between the government of Kenya and the government of The Gambia on the said deportation of Abdullah Al-Faisal to the Gambia", the release added.

According to latest international media reports, the Jamaican-born Muslim cleric, Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal, has been flown back to Kenya, which deported him last week, after Nigeria refused to give him a transit visa to The Gambia.

Reacting to this latest development, the acting Director of Immigration, Buba Sagnia declared: "We are vindicated. This man has never entered Gambian air space or Gambian territory. So it is disappointing for people to make such a report." 

Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal was visiting the east African nation when Kenyan intelligence officials, fear that his speeches might have some elements of radicalism in a country that has suffered two al Qaeda-linked attacks, arrested him on December 31. Faisal was deported from Britain in 2007. Kenya's immigration minister, Otieno Kajwang, was quoted as saying that Faisal was now being held at a prison in Nairobi, after he was returned to the capital on Sunday.