Part 8: Escape to Freetown

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It was 2004. The rains had just began closing in. The place was muddy and mostly unpleasant to look at, especially the market area of Serrekunda.

My editor-in-chief at The Point newspaper had urged me not to move around at night. My nephew and son were delivering my news items at night, but Deyda Hydara, my editor, had advised me to stop because they were kids and it was more dangerous for them than me.

Augustine Kanjia lies in pain after surgery in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Courtesy of Augustine Kanjia

Augustine Kanjia lies in pain after surgery in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

I had them deliver my stories because of the problem with my unbending knee. It was uncomfortable, and I could not run if I were attacked, which was always a possibility.

I had started taking an online course in journalism about a year before my decision to move on to Freetown in Sierra Leone to correct the mistake the Egyptian doctor had made in Gambia.

I reported news even from the hospital, where drugs would go to the wrong hands. Bribery was rife in big places, but dictatorial tendencies made journalists afraid to report on it.

An online paper called touched the most sensitive areas of the Gambian society. It made a difference. However, association with the paper meant death or disappearance.

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