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 A glowing tribute to late Deyda

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Momodou Posted - 15 Dec 2017 : 14:49:21
A glowing tribute to late Deyda

The Point Editorial: Friday, December 15, 2017

Tomorrow will mark 13 years since late Deyda Hydara, the co-proprietor and managing editor of The Point Newspaper was slain and still suspects are yet to face justice.

Gambian authorities last may issued an arrest warrant for two suspects, Ex-colonel Kawsu Camara known as Bonbardier – a former commander of the Kanilia Camp and Major Sanna Manjnag, an ex-State Guard officer.

Prior to the issuance of the arrest warrant, the rumour mill had it that Ex-major Sana Manjang had been living in the neighbouring country of Guinea Bissau.

Mr. Hydara who lived to serve humanity was gunned down in cold blood for defending press freedom and giving chance to the voiceless to be heard. He did not live for the sake of living, but devoted his life to ensure human dignity – that all men are created equal and that those inalienable rights of man be respected.

His profound idea, together with a friend, Pap Saine, now the director of the paper came in the name of giving the voiceless the voice and the downtrodden the hope. The two men were not ideological in anyway, but they had an unyielding belief that the better way to serve humanity was to create a medium that would pinpoint the wrongs in the society and put the governors accountable to their subjects.

Mr. Hydara, the co-founder and managing editor of The Point was born on June 1947. He was killed in Dec. 16, 2004. And as the media industry prepares to mark the 13 years of his killing, Mr. Hydara’s records and personality will remain with us as a ‘Living Mirror.’

“He was gunned down in cold blood for contributing in meeting the needs and aspiration of the Gambian people and humanity at large, through the discharge of his professional duty as a journalist,” Pap Saine said of late Mr. Hydara.

“Our only comfort was that he died for his ideals,” said Marie-Pierre Hydara, the daughter of late Mr. Hydara. “Whatever purpose Deyda’s killing was for, it has failed flat. Because if it was meant to silence the press, some are fighting tooth and nail to get us the justice we or he deserve,” she said.

The Hydara family and the management of The Point are appealing to the authorities to work with Interpol to have these suspects repatriated and face justice without delay.

We also remember Niansarang Jobe and Ida Jagne who were wounded in the car in which Deyda was killed. They will always be remembered.

As tomorrow marks the 26th anniversary of the The Point Newspaper, the management of The Point wishes to thank the staff for the commitment and dedication they have demonstrated in the course of press freedom.

The paper over past years made big achievements by winning international wards on press freedom. The Point won an award in 2006, in Germany, Australia in 2010 and in South Africa and Zambia respectively in 2014.

The paper is bilingual and has taken a leading role in the market as a result of our stance for democracy, good governance and war against corruption.

“When the new becomes commonplace, people become accustomed to it. That’s a tribute to our sense of adventure.”
John Glenn
4   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Momodou Posted - 15 Dec 2017 : 15:31:53
Marie-Pierre Hydara: ‘My father was shot 3 times…’

The Point: Friday, December 15, 2017

Marie-Pierre Hydara, daughter of late journalist Deyda Hydara, has said that her father was shot “three times in cold blood by assassins” decrying the death brought their family to its knees.

Hydara, the founder of the private daily The Point, was shot dead by unidentified assailants as he drove home from his office in the capital, Banjul, on December 16, 2004.

Marie Pierre expressed “utter dismay and disgust at the horrendous manner in which a daring and fearless journalist was cowardly snatched away from us.”

The June 2014, the ruling by the ECOWAS Community Court found that the Gambian government, under President Yahya Jammeh, failed to conduct a meaningful investigation into the murder of journalist Deyda Hydara.

“The very system that was supposed to safeguard the lives of our own people failed flatly from the very onset, whether by intention or default, in showing interest or any humanity in apprehending his killers, or their cohorts,” said Ms. Hydara.

“Our only comfort was that he died for his ideals,” Marie-Pierre, who currently lives and is studying in the U.K., said in between sobs as she wipes tears running down from her eyes.

She went on: “All these years without justice in fact arouses the question whether the Gambia government was ever interested in finding the killers…”

She said the so-called investigation that was instituted by former President Jammeh was just a smoke screen with the fog of international community that were calling for investigations into the murder of her dad.

“Whatever purpose Deyda’s killing was for, it has failed flat. Because if it was meant to silence the press, some are fighting tooth and nail to get us the justice we or he deserve,” she said.

“Our cries and calls for justice are echoing… Deyda stood up for what he believes and died a champion of press freedom,” Marie said of her father, who along with other veterans founded the country’s press union in 1978.

Hydara was a leading advocate for press freedom, human rights and good governance under the dictatorship.

Daughter Marie-Pierre Hydara lauded the dedication and steadfastness of human rights groups and Gambia’s independent media’s will to continue this battle, which she described as “ever so touching”.

“Each time, it brings tears of joy to our heart. When we embarked on this quest for answers over ten years ago with a two-million-dollar-question, ‘Who killed Deyda Hydara?’ – we didn’t have any gun to fight back. We didn’t have a TV or radio to cry out for help. We were one family lost, where disbelievers will lead us astray without the guidance of the almighty Allah,” she added.

Author: Sanna Camara
Momodou Posted - 15 Dec 2017 : 14:55:48
Commemoration of the 13 years of the assassination of Deyda Hydara

The point: Friday, December 15, 2017

The striking testimony of Nian sarang Jobe, victim during the fatal day Deyda was assassinated

Thirteen years after the assassination of Deyda Hydara, co-founder of the newspaper that you hold in your hands and also a year after Yaya Jammeh’s departure, the lines are moving, tongues are loosening in The Gambia. Niansarang Jobe, layout editor at The Point, witness and victim of the drama of December 16, 2004, where Deyda Hydara lost his life, speaks out of her silence. This, by the favour of political alternation; she tells The Point about this day when she was closed to death and where her fate almost rocked.

Miss. Jobe arrived in a hurry in this morning of December in her office at the daily paper, The Point. The perfect bet, the glasses well adjusted, the tone put, speaking in a Gambian Wolof impeccable. Sarang Jobe, layout editor at The Point, is one of the survivors of the murder of The Point’s co-founder in The Gambia, Deyda Hydara. The second witness who was in the vehicle, Ida Jagne went into exile in the United States after her first aid in the country. Nian, as her colleagues affectionately call her, has not forgotten anything about this fateful date. She began to narrate her testimony by giving the details of the tragedy, “the accident took place around 22:00 p.m. at Sankung Sillah Road at Kanifing.” She continues, after the celebration of the anniversary, and editing the newspaper for the next day, she and her colleague Ida Jagne were being transported home by their former employer, late Deyda in his vehicle. She was sitting right behind the late Deyda. Unfortunately, they were attacked and shot by unknown assailants in a moving taxi. “The fatal killed Hydara, dead on the spot,” says Ms. Jobe.

According to her, when the unknown fired at Mr. Hydara, his vehicle continued to roll into a gutter, along the Sunkung Sillah Road. They were in a taxi, behind them with dazzling lights, trying to catch up with the vehicle, and it was after the slowdown that they started shooting at them, she says.

She could not come out of the car because she was injured on the left knee. She escaped death. She was admitted at the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital for one week and later she was transferred to the Dakar Hospital Principal, where the bullet was extracted. She underwent treatment in Dakar for about 8 months.

Thirteen years later, this miraculous woman still lives the aftermath of these physical and mental wounds. Our conversation was interrupted by emotion and tremolos in the voice. She says she still lives with this trauma and fear. In the past, she was afraid to reveal her identity to the public.

In 2009, during the trial of the six journalists for the publication of a message by The Gambia Press Union on the anniversary of the death of Deyda Hydara, she was afraid and had to stop working for sometime because she feels her life was in danger as former President Jammeh always used to say that it’s because of the absence of witnesses that’s why his government can’t shed light on this issue or start the court case.

During the dictatorship, even being in the country, this forty-year-old dared not say a word. Today, she says she is grateful to Allah for saving her life, she has recovered and walk again despite still living with the trauma and pain on her knee. She also prayed for the soul of Deyda Hydara to continue to rest in perfect peace and also demand for justice”

She demands justice from the new authorities and for culprits to brought to justice.

A year after the political alternation, there is a kind of lead screed on the record of this famous journalist, former correspondent of AFP in Banjul. The folder has not been restarted yet. The only novelty is the decision of the ECOWAS Court recommending the Gambian state to compensate the Hydara family.

Author: Amadou Barry
Momodou Posted - 15 Dec 2017 : 14:54:55
Police ‘obstructed’ from investigating Deyda Killing - Ex-Police Supt

The Point: Friday, December 15, 2017

Mustapha Ceesay, former superintendent of The Gambia Police Force has said that despite ‘leads and dots’ directing to specific people well placed in the [Jammeh] system, the police were obstructed at every level to get to the bottom of Deyda’s murder.

“The arrest and detention of the then IGP and his replacement with a person of interest was indeed troubling …,” he said last week as Barrow government announces funds allocated for the families of murdered journalist through the ECOWAS Court.

“Having been among the first responders to the killing of Deyda and being the first officer to enter his vehicle to pull his body out, my heart never stopped bleeding to this day,” Ceesay said, recalling the “innocent and pious look on his bloodied-face from the gunshot wound.”

Hydara, a regular critic of President Yahya Jammeh’s harsh policies, had received multiple death threats in the months leading up to his death. His murder still remains unsolved.

“A panel of three justices in the ECOWAS Court of Justice declared that Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency, tasked with investigating Hydara’s murder, did not carry out a proper investigation and cited its failure to carry out ballistic tests on the bullets and weapons recovered from suspects,” Washington-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in 2014.

The court said the Gambia’s intelligence agency was “not an impartial body to conduct the investigation” but that there was no evidence linking the Gambian government to the murder.

However, ex-Police Supt. Ceesay said all leads and dots directed the Police, under the leadership of ex-IGP 13 Badjie, to specific people well placed in the system.

“I hope they will soon institute a truth and reconciliation commission where they will be told every fact leading to the brutal killing of these and many innocent citizens of our land,” Ceesay added.

From the onset of the investigation, Ceesay said he had noted and reported that every indication and clue points to professional assassins’ involvement.

“The preciseness of all the shots despite being a moving target indicates high level of marksmanship. The selection of the site as well showed good amount of planning, while the timing of just-after-10 p.m. indicates some level of assurance and believe that nothing was going to happen to them for the killing even if they were seen as common criminals would normally strike so early,” Ceesay analyses.

“Removing his (Deyda’s) mobile phone from his pocket while ringing before turning it off on my boss’s order, I can only imagine how the caller was feeling at the other end. But what could I do or say?”

He described the experience of sitting next to Deyda’s body while it was transported to the RVH as “the longest journey I ever took”.

He added: “My worst heart ripping came upon our arrival at the hospital as we were met by the wailing and screaming of the anguished family and friends, some hitting the ground... Oh Lord, how I wished I was never there to witness such a sorrow!!”

Author: Sanna Camara
Momodou Posted - 15 Dec 2017 : 14:50:35
Deyda’s killers must be indicted for justice to be served

The Point: Friday, December 15, 2017

Pap Saine, the co-publisher of The Point Newspaper has called on the government of The Gambia to speed up the investigations and work with partners to ensuring that those who are responsible for the assassination of journalist Deyda Hydara are brought to justice.

Mr. Hydara was killed on the 16th of December 2004 while returning from work with his staff. Today marks 13 years since he was slain. However, his assassins are believed to be in the neighbouring countries, with people calling for them to be brought to justice.

“As far as it has come clearly to us that Deyda Hydara’s killers are within the sub-region, I think the police should speed up their investigation and work with the Interpol of the neighboring countries in ensuring that his killers are brought to justice,” he said in emotion.

“He was gunned down in cold blood for contributing in meeting the needs and aspiration of the Gambian people and humanity at large, through the discharge of his professional duty as a journalist.”

Mr. Saine who was speaking to this reporter in an exclusive interview described the killing of his former colleague and childhood friend as ‘barbaric act.’

“We will continue to remember him,” he said. “He was a close friend to me and we did everything together. We also started working at Radio Syd in 1970 of which in 1982 we have a paper call the Senegambia Sun together with the late Babucarr Gaye up to 1985,” he narrated.

Pap Saine attributed Mr. Hydara’s death to his stance toward press freedom in the country and defending the voiceless. “I think the authorities should do everything possible to bring the culprits to book. The government announced that Hydara’s killers where Ex-Lt. Colonel Kawsu Camara alias Bombardier, who was the former commander at Kanilai Camp and Major Sanna Manjang of the State Guard,” he stated.

The government, he went on, has issued a warrant to arrest for the suspects who are believed to be harbouring in the neighboring countries. He urged they should do everything within their limits with the help of their counterpart securities to arrest these people and bring to justice.

He seized the opportunities and calls on the government of The Gambia to repeal all the draconian media laws in the country. “The laws still now exist and this will hamper our performance in executing our function effectively”.

“We will continue to pray for him. However, I am doing everything possible to fill the vacuum of his legacy in making sure that we revise ‘The Good Morning Mr. President’ – a column that he used to advice the president with regard to the day-to-day running of the country. Although he dies but I tried to ensure that the paper is coming out daily and is up running,” he stated.

“We the media chiefs are appealing to the neighbouring countries to help us arrest the killers in order for them to be brought to justice,” he said. “On behalf of the management of the point and Deyda Hydara family we also appeal to the international community to help us arrest the suspects.”

“As tomorrow mark 26th anniversary of The Point, we thank the Almighty Allah for the achievements we rendered. I would also like to thank our esteem readers, advertisers for the support. Therefore, I commend my able dedicated staff for their commitment and dedication to work especially in promoting press freedom in the country.”

Author: Momodou Jawo

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