27 February 1998


Journalists possibly in danger

Incident details



(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - ARTICLE 19 is concerned about the safety of a number of
journalists reported to be in the custody of the West African Peace Keeping
Forces (ECOMOG) since the capture of Freetown. The following are believed to
by held by ECOMOG at present:

**New cases and updates IFEX alerts as noted in text**

  • Bakra Shaw of "Expo Times";

  • Conrad Roy, also of "Expo Times";

  • Gipu Felix-George, managing director of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting
    Service (SLBS);

  • Hilton Fyle, owner of the private radio station WBIG 103 FM;

  • I.B. Kargbo, editor of the "New Citizen";

  • Denis Smith, a journalist at the SLBS.

    ARTICLE 19 is aware that in some instances journalists have been rescued
    from vigilante attacks by ECOMOG soldiers and that in the case of Hilton
    Fyle, for example, he owes his life to the intervention of ECOMOG personnel.

    Our concern is heightened by reports that several other journalists are in
    hiding and being sought by ECOMOG. These include Chernor Ojuku Cesay, editor
    of "The Pool", Ibrahim Seaga Shaw and Charles Roberts of the "Expo Times"
    and Gibril Koroma, a correspondent for the World Service of the British
    Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)(for the Koroma case see IFEX alerts dated 21
    and 26 January 1997, and 2 February 1998).

    Recommended Action

    Send appeals to authorities:

  • urging them to immediately and unconditionally release those journalists
    currently detained unless they are to be charged with a recognizably
    criminal offence and promptly and fairly tried
  • appealing to ECOMOG to provide the fullest possible protection to
    journalists pending the re-establishment of a civilian administration. Such
    protection should extend impartially to those journalists who may have been
    critical of the civilian government or of the role of ECOMOG
  • requesting information about the basis for the continued imprisonment of
    these journalists and assurances of their safety

    Appeals To

    Colonel Maxwell Mitkishi Khobe

    NB* If anyone has an appropriate fax or telephone number for this alert,
    could they please send it to the IFEX CH.

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression
    6-8 Amwell Street
    EC1R 1UQ
    United Kingdom
    info (@) article19.org
    Fax:+44 20 7278 7660
    Sierra Leone
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