Panafrican News Agency

Gambian foreign minister rebuts journalist’s allegations over extradition

Banjul, Gambia (PANA)   -   Gambian minister of foreign  affairs, international cooperation and Gambians abroad Mamadou Tangara has denied allegations by former president of the Gambia Press Union Ms Ndey Tapha Sosseh that he asked Malian authorities to get her extradited to The Gambia.

In a statement made available to PANA here Friday, Tangara said “during the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission's (TRRC) hearing of 11 July, 2019, Sosseh made a statement claiming that I, Mamadou Tangara, visited Mali on two occasions during which I urged Malian authorities as Special Envoy to get her extradited to The Gambia. And I also discussed the issue of her extradition with my colleagues in Kampala, Uganda”.

He added: “Contrary to Ms. Sosseh's allegations, I want to hereby inform the TRRC and the general public that I have never led any efforts or made any statements at any point in time to any Malian official for Ms. Sosseh's extradition to The Gambia.”

According to him, there is no extradition treaty between the Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Mali that could make such a vicious ploy possible.

He said “special envoy message to a head of state is never disclosed to the public but I will make an exception, revealing the purpose of his trip amongst others was to invite the then President of Mali, H.E. Amadou Toumani Toure to The Gambia and also to discuss the issue of the arrest of the emissaries of former President Yahya Jammeh who were embroiled in a cattle transaction dispute with a Malian business tycoon, Mr Amadou Gigo”.

“My trip to Uganda for the African Union Summit was my first meeting as Foreign Minister and I did not meet the Malian authorities. In fact, contrary to what she said, during my visit to Kampala, I have never discussed the issue of Ms. Sosseh or any other Gambian. As a matter of fact, the issue of Ms. Sosseh never came up during discussion with colleagues,” Tangara pointed out.

He added: “I was never asked by the former President to discuss the extradition at any point of any person. He did raise concern over the alleged subversive activities of Gambian opposition members in Mali, notably the late Mr. Kukoi Samba Sanyang, Ms. Ndey Tapha Sosseh, among others, which he asked me to extend to the President of Mali, given that he (Jammeh) would not allow anyone to use Gambia as a platform against any other country much more Mali.”  

He further revealed that during his conversation with his Malian counterpart who happened to be a very good brother and friend, he confided in him to advise Ms. Sosseh to be vigilant because Jammeh was claiming that he could reach his perceived enemies wherever they were.

He pointed out that, in the same vein, when he came back to The Gambia, he reached out to a brother, Mr. Jibi Bah, and asked him to watch his guard because his name surfaced during the issue related to the above mentioned arrest and detention of the emissaries in Mali.

He said Bah was still around and could be contacted, saying that, for obvious reasons, he did not reach out to Ms. Sosseh directly but he  was the one who requested the Malian authorities to provide her protection.

He also stated that Ms. Sosseh was no stranger to him and would like to remind her that whilst she was the president of Gambia Press Union (GPU), he handpicked her to attend a seminar in Bamako, Mali.

He added that not only did he choose her for being GPU president but he also found her to be a young and intelligent lady who could represent The Gambia with pride and professionalism.

“So I was very much surprised to learn that a professional of her calibre will go to an important entity as the TRRC and make unsubstantiated allegations. The same Ms. Sosseh used to send me reports of their meetings and even photos. Therefore, I wonder why she didn't have the courage to engage me on what she is alleging,” Tangara noted.

“Her allegations led to some ridiculous and venomous utterances on social media against my humble self. It has been said that I fought with demonstrators in New York. The fact of the matter is that I was physically attacked and I defended myself.

“I am happy to say that Mr. Falai Baldeh, who was at the centre of the fracas, later came to me, accompanied by religious and community leaders and tendered apology.

 “I vividly remember the day because it coincided with a historic day in Gambian diplomacy which I will not dwell on. It was also alleged that I fought with Mr. Banka Manneh and Dr. Amadou Scattered Janneh. I cannot remember meeting Mr. Manneh in person and Dr. Janneh and I always greeted each other with respect whenever we meet,” he said.

He also revealed that, for the information of the general public, he was among some well-meaning individuals in The Gambia and abroad who worked hard at their own risk to defend and secure the release of prisoners among whom was Dr. Janneh. 


-0-    PANA     MSS/RA    12Jul2019