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Gambia President Arrests Two Journalists Over Political Defections Story

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Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh arrives at the Elysee palace to participate in the Elysee summit for peace and safety in Africa, on December 6, 2013 in Paris. AFP PHOTO/ ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images) | ALAIN JOCARD via Getty Images

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A newspaper editor in Gambia says two of its journalists have been arrested after reporting that 19 supporters of President Yahya Jammeh's ruling party had defected to the opposition.

Modou Joof, managing editor of The Voice newspaper, said Tuesday its reporter and publisher Musa Sheriff and freelance journalist Sainey Marenah were arrested Monday in connection with the story published last month.

The International Federation of Journalists said in a statement Tuesday that Sheriff was arrested at his office, while Marenah turned himself in. Officers said they "received a directive" from Jammeh saying not to grant the journalists bail.

On Jan. 1, Jammeh lifted bans his government had imposed on The Standard newspaper and a community radio station, but media groups said his administration routinely restricts press freedom.

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