MS Bah, President of Gambia Press Union
The Gambia Press Union has received official reports that on 6th December 2021, freelance photojournalist Lamin Dumbuya was physically assaulted by supporters of the United Democratic Party (UDP) at the residence of the party leader Ousainou ANM Darboe in Pipeline.
The supporters who assaulted Dumbuya also confiscated and damaged a number of his equipment including two cameras.
UDP supporters and sympathisers gathered at the residence of Mr Darboe to supposedly show their dissatisfaction with the result of the 4th December presidential election as announced by the Independent Electoral Commission.
As a photojournalist, Dumbuya was at the scene to photo-document the incident. In the process, he was compelled to take refuge inside the residence of Mr. Darboe after some officers of the Gambia Police Force fired teargas in an attempt to forcefully disperse the crowd.
It was at this time of taking refuge that some UDP supporters claimed the photojournalist was a sympathiser of the National People’s Party thereby physically assaulting him. His professional camera was also confiscated and damaged.
The GPU condemns in the strongest terms the actions of UDP supporters responsible for the assault of Mr Dumbuya and the destruction of his camera. These actions by the UDP supporters continue the unfortunate trend of assault on journalists by political party supporters.
The GPU also condemns the use of teargas and other forms of violence to disperse the crowd by officers of the Gambia Police Force. The teargas has led to the hospitalisation of two other journalists who had inhaled the toxic fumes.
“We would like to call on the Gambia Police Force to cease from the use of undue force in the performance of its duties, and exercise restraint in dispersing crowds,” GPU President Muhammed S. Bah said.
“The GPU would also like to call on the leadership of the UDP to facilitate the return of Mr. Dumbuya’s confiscated equipment and to encourage its supporters to refrain from assaulting journalists in the line of duty.”
The GPU is committed, ready and willing to continue engaging state authorities and political party leaders with a view to promoting an enabling environment for press freedom, especially with regards to the safety of journalists.
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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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