Gambian radio station reopens, but can only broadcast music

Gambian authorities let a popular radio station resume broadcasting on Monday, days after closing it down as part of a crackdown, as long as it airs only music, a government source said.

Banjul: Gambian authorities let a popular radio station resume broadcasting on Monday, days after closing it down as part of a crackdown, as long as it airs only music, a government source said.

The source said the manager of Teranga FM radio station, Alagie Ceesay, had been informed of the decision when he presented himself to police in a southern suburb of the capital Banjul, as he must do according to his bail conditions.

On Saturday, security agents had ordered Ceesay to immediately stop broadcasts by his independent station which translates news from English into local languages.

The police kept Ceesay for questioning Saturday night. He was released on Sunday without charge.

No explanation was given for the clampdown on the station, but it followed a failed coup attack against the west African country`s strongman President Yahya Jammeh last Tuesday.

The radio station was also shut temporarily in 2011 and 2012, the latter close came amid international outcry over the state`s execution of nine prisoners.

Analysts had warned that Jammeh, who has been accused of widespread human rights violations during his 20-year rule, could use last Tuesday`s attack on State House in Banjul as justification for stifling dissent.

Jammeh was in Dubai when a group of heavily-armed men travelling by canoe launched the attack in the coastal capital last week.

Presidential guards repelled the attack, which was led by an army deserter, according to military sources.

Dozens of soldiers and civilians have been arrested over the attack, a source close to the investigation said.

Jammeh has led the small west African nation of two million people since taking power in a coup in 1994.

He accused unidentified foreign forces of attempting to unseat him and insisted the army is "very loyal".

Teranga FM was broadcasting music late Monday, rather than its normal programming.

No media representatives wished to comment on the move.

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