The Gambia police have finally realized that it had wrongly detained one Marie France Maloban Mutonkole, a Belgian national, of Congolese origin, who was virtually held hostage for over one week after been denied from flying out from the country to Belgium, FREEDOM NEWSPAPER CAN REPORT. Marie 26, a Casino worker, was stopped at the Banjul international airport on January 11th when she wanted to fly back home with the Belgian Tui airline. She was accused of “possessing a passport that police suspects do not belongs to her.” She was in the country to attend the wedding ceremony of her Gambian friend Fatou Saine. This was Marie’s visit trip to The Gambia.

Airport “security profilers” and the police claimed that the picture that was on her passport do not resemble her. She was briefly questioned by the police before she was asked to leave. She left her passport behind, as police impounded it.

Marie had to be escorted to the family home of her Gambian friend Fatou Saine. Her host, Fatou Saine, left her behind in The Gambia; though she also missed her flight on the day in question. She flew to Belgium to help take up Marie’s case with the Belgian authorities.

Marie cannot speak English. He speaks the Belgian French, and her host in Banjul cannot speak French either. She communicates with them via Google translate in some occasions, Korro Jaiteh, an uncle to Fatou Saine tells Freedom Newspaper.

Jaiteh said Marie’s passport was under the custody of one police detective at the airport with the last name Jallow. He also said Jallow’s boss one Mr. Njie, was also in the picture.

Marie had made two trips to the airport, but she was denied access to fly out. She was told that she had a pending case with The Gambian police and as such she couldn’t leave the country.

The Belgian authorities wrote a letter to The Gambian police clearing her from leaving the country after confirming to them that she was Belgian citizen. She was okayed to fly with SN Brussels with her Belgian ID Card, but police at the airport insisted that she couldn’t leave the country.

Barely less than twenty-four hours after her story was reported by the Freedom Newspaper and Freedom Radio Gambia, Marie’s host Pa Modou Bangura, a brother to Fatou Saine, received a phone call from the police that Marie is now cleared to leave the country. Banguara was instructed to report to the police on Tuesday to pick up Marie’s passport. Police also told him that they will pay for Marie’s air ticket to Belgium.

“The police have called my brother today. They asked him to report to the police to up Marie’s passport first thing in the morning. The police also said they pay for her air ticket. That she can fly out tomorrow afternoon to Belgium. I don’t understand what might have led to their change of heart,” Fatou Saine told me in a phone conversation late Monday evening.

“One Mr. Camara at the police called my brother to inform him that he could report to the police to pick up Marie’s passport. I think he was overseeing the case,” she added.

Fatou Saine said she couldn’t tell whether the police had apologized to Marie or not. She said it was Pa Modou who spoke to Camara.

Attempts to reach Mr. Bangura for comment proved futile. The police spokesman also could not reached for comment.


A Belgian national of Congolese origin, has been denied traveling back to Belgium, after attending a wedding ceremony in the impoverished West African nation of The Gambia, FREEDOM NEWSPAPER CAN REVEAL.  Marie France Maloban Mutonkole, 26, was stopped this past Friday at the Banjul international airport, while trying to board a Belgian airline called Tui airline. She was told by the airport security that the picture contained in her passport doesn’t resemble her. She was briefly questioned and let go; though she missed her flight on that day to Belgium.

        Marie France Maloban Mutonkole, 26 

Marie came to The Gambia at the invitation of her Gambian friend Fatou Saine, who also lives in Belgium. She was in Banjul to attend the wedding ceremony of Fatou.

Fatou flew to Banjul from Belgium, one week before the arrival of her friend Marie. She took a two week vacation to attend Fatou’s wedding.

Marie was supposed to spend one week in Banjul. It was this past Friday that she was supposed to fly out back to Belgium, but the airport “security profilers” said they suspect that she had a fake passport.

Marie France Maloban Mutonkole with her Gambian friend Fatou Saine

Basiru Kareem, 31, a resident of Nemasu, whose wife is related to Marie’s friend Fatou Saine, told FREEDOM NEWSPAPER in a phone interview that Marie’s woes with the airport security started when she refused to give them money after been stopped.

“She was with three white Belgian men and a white Belgian lady, when she got stopped by the airport profilers. They claimed that the passport she had was not hers. She was handed to the Immigration officers at the airport. They demanded money from her, so that she can be allowed to fly out, but she refused. She was subsequently handed to the police upon her refusal to give them money. She was questioned and released. She flew into the country on board Tui airline. She is a Belgian citizen of Congolese origin,” he said.

Marie France with her Gambian friend Fatou Saine in Belgium.

Marie’s case was brought to the attention of The Belgian Consul in The Gambia. The Belgian Ambassador in Senegal was also in the picture, Kareem said.

Emails were sent to The Gambian law enforcement officials by the Belgian authorities confirming that Marie was a Belgian citizen and she owns the passport in question, Kareem told this medium.

He added that The Belgian Consul in Banjul personally intervened in Marie’s case, but without much success. Airport security officials wouldn’t let Marie to return to Belgium. They claimed that the passport she had was not hers.

Marie tried to fly out with SN Brussels on Saturday after she was cleared by the Belgian authorities to use her Belgian issued Identity Card (ID), but she got stopped again by the airport security. Her air ticket was allegedly tore into pieces by some airport security staff in an unprovoked, Basiru Kareem alleges.

“The police said she has a pending case in The Gambia and as such she wouldn’t be allowed to leave the country. She has not been charged with any offense. She was questioned and released on her first encounter with the police. As we speak, Marie has been held hostage by The Gambian police. She has been prevented from returning to Belgium,” he further alleges.

Marie arrived in The Gambia on January 1st 2019. Her vacation ended one week ago.

She has been stranded in The Gambia for over a week now amid the police’s refusal to let her fly out to Belgium.

The police spokesman could not be reached for comment during the weekend.


Freedom Newspaper