“They were very arrogant towards the people that came late….While I stepped to pick up my bag, this Senegalese ECOMIG soldier pulled my bag and said I could not enter because the hall is full,” said Ceesay, who provided photos of his bleeding fingers.
Ceesay said a protocol officer had cleared them to enter the hall just minutes before the confrontation. Ceesay and the unnamed army officer had exchanged words before the situation escalated into a physical altercation.
“He pushed me and I too pushed him. He hit me on my chest saying he saw me being rude to his colleagues. I responded that he was rude as well. He then hit me again and I hit him back,” Ceesay said.
“He pointed his rifle to my chest and threatened to pull the trigger. He hung his gun and then pushed me and I push back. We exchange blows and two of his colleagues joined him to drag me out.”
The incident was witnessed by another Gambian journalist, Kebba Jeffang. Jeffang said that the ECOMIG presidential guards “got it all wrong by manhandling him [Ceesay].”
Gambian authorities say investigations into the allegations are on. Journalists in The Gambia, including Ceesay, were targeted by the ousted regime of Jammeh. Ceesay had just returned to The Gambia from exile.
Written by Sam Phatey