Alagie Sisay's kidnapping happened 24 hours after the NIA interrogated the staff members of The Voice newspaper at the intelligence agency's Banjul headquarters.
Radio Teranga FM manager and journalist Alagie Sisay has been missing since the evening of July 2nd. It is suspected that two members of Gambia's National Intelligence Agency (NIA) kidnapped him just outside of the radio station.
Mr. Sisay had just broken his Ramadan fast when he was informed that there were people outside the radio station looking to speak to him. When he went outside to talk to them, he never returned. Though his family reported his disappearance to police and intelligence officials, Mr. Sisay has not been seen or heard from since, and no further information has come to light.
His kidnapping happened 24 hours after the NIA interrogated the staff members of The Voice newspaper at the intelligence agency's Banjul headquarters. They asked questions about contracts, funding, places of residence, and they also took the staffs' photographs allegedly to guarantee their safety.
Cléa Kahn-Sriber, the head of Reporters Without Borders Africa, said, "Journalists disappearing after being kidnapped is nothing new in Gambia. The disappearance nine years ago of Chief Ebrima Manneh is still unsolved."
Mr. Scriber added, "Radio Teranga FM has long been in the government's sights." According to him, the government has shut down the station three times since its launch in 2009, the third closure taking sixteen months before the station was able to reopen last year.
Mr. Sisay was detained about a month ago for his involvement in broadcasting a political rally by President Yahya Jammeh.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has sent out an alert that Gambia should disclose the location, health, and legal status of the journalists. Susan Valentine, the Africa Program Coordinator of CPJ said that “there is a long history of impunity in Gambia. We are concerned about the country’s records.”
“It is a real that concern that this is a pattern for the last 10 years.”
Valentine also said that “Gambia has treated journalists appallingly and not honored the rule of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) who ruled last year that Gambia has continuously failed to report missing journalists.”
The search for Mr. Sisay continues. Many Gambian press unions and citizens have spoken up to urge authorities to prioritize the lives of journalists and go against President Jammeh, who is on the "Predators of Press Freedom" list.