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Amid Political Crisis, Gambian Authorities Shutter Radio Station

  • VOA News

FILE - Gambia's president Yahya Jammeh gestures before voting in Banjul, Gambia, Dec. 1, 2016. Authorities in Gambia have shut down a private radio station, amid rising political tension as Jammeh continues to deny his defeat in recent elections.

Authorities in Gambia have shut down a private radio station, amid rising political tension as president Yahya Jammeh continues to deny his defeat in recent elections.

Teranga FM, which translates news from Gambian papers into local languages, was ordered shut by national security officers on Sunday for unspecified reasons.

Four National Intelligence Agency operatives and one police officer in uniform came to the radio station Sunday and told us to stop broadcasting, a staff member told the French Press Agency on the condition of anonymity.

Teranga FM has been taken off the air four times in recent years, and its managing director was charged with sedition in 2015 and has remained imprisoned since then.

A second station near the capital, Hilltop radio, was also reportedly closed Monday.

West Africa's regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has threatened to use force in Gambia if the country's longtime leader does not step down in January as scheduled, following his loss in last month's presidential election.

Jammeh, who has ruled Gambia for 22 years, initially accepted defeat after the election, but a week later changed his mind. He said voting irregularities made him question the win by opposition candidate Adama Barrow.

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