Family sources who confirmed Aminata Manneh’s disappearance said they will report the matter to the police on Monday.
“We will report the matter to the police on Monday,” a source told FPI. “We do not know if she has been ‘abducted or gone into hiding’ as being claimed.”
A police spokesperson, ASP David Kujabi, told an FPI editor on Sunday that his office is yet to receive information regarding Aminata’s reported disappearance.
Aminata, a coordinator of Thing Young Women (TYW), went on Tuesday after she exposed a police officer beating a school girl in the streets, according to media reports.
She is a 3rd year student of the University of The Gambia, a gender activist, and an intern at the American Corner along Kairaba Avenue.
On Monday, while on her way to work, she came across a “highly disturbing scene” of a Gambian police officer [of the Motor Traffic Unit] repeatedly beating a young girl of about 10 years of age with a cane, according to reports.
She took a video of the incident and shared with her over 4,500 followers on Facebook, saying: “This is a total child rights violation. Since when does a traffic police officer have a right to lay a hand on a young schoolgirl? What has become of our authorities?”
The video went viral and attracted outrage on social media, before reports began to circulate that Aminata has gone missing.
A US-based activist, Jeffrey Smith of the Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, tweeted: “Just saw a highly disturbing video of a Gambia police officer beating a young school girl in broad daylight. Sadly not an uncommon episode.”
‘Gone into hiding’
With the hashtag #freeMinah trending, Thing Young Women posted: “We are saddened to learn about the sudden disappearance of our dear sister and TYW’s Young Women’s Mentorship Coordinator, Ms. Aminata Manneh. We confirmed from her family that she has not been seen or heard from.
“Minah is one of our most vibrant members and her passion for promoting the respect of the rights of women and girls shines forth in everything she does. We, therefore, call on the authorities to help us in finding Minah and reuniting her with family, friends and the many people she strives to help each day.
“Minah, your TYW family stands with you, today, as always and pray you are safe wherever you may be. #freeMinah.”
Other reports emerged over the weekend that Aminata may have “gone into hiding or fled the country” following unknown phone calls and Facebook inbox messages sent to her of people demanding to meet her urgently.
But the family said they’ve got no information about such claims.
Disappearances are a common problem in the tiny West African country. At least one newspaper, FOROYAA, regularly publishes updates of “detention without trial and disappearance without trace”.