About hundred Gambian journalists and political figures were believed to have fled the country during the 22-year repressive rule of former president Yahya Jammeh.

Most of the persecuted journalists and politicians fled to neighbouring Senegal to seek sanctuary. 

Senegal-based Gambian human rights advocate and lawyer, Fatou Jagne Senghore, told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission on Thursday that many of the exiles were living in precarious situations in Senegal.

Ms Jagne Senghore, 51, who is also Article 19’s Director for West Africa, said: “There were really significant number of Gambians who were in challenging situations in Senegal.

“They have been running away from their country,  and I think those years were very stressful for many Gambians.”

Ms Jagne said the Gambian exiles in Senegal also included security officers accused of plotting against the Jammeh regime.

Some of those security officers, she added, were human rights violators who fell out with the regime and became victims.

She however said her organisation’s “main focus was on journalists and human rights defenders”.

She said they documented the number of Gambian journalists that fled to Senegal.

“We’ve recorded from 2006 to the end of the regime about 100 journalists left the country due to fear and persecution.”

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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