Seedy Saidybah, a security operative with the SIS apparatus and the 14th prosecution witness in the ongoing criminal trial involving nine former officials of the defunct NIA concluded his evidence in chief on Monday before presiding Judge Kumba Sillah-Camara at the High Court in Banjul.
The nine officials: Yankuba Badjie, Louie Richard Leese Gomez, Sheikh Omar Jeng, Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansaray, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang are indicted with 26 counts including conspiracy to murder, murder, assault causing grievous bodily harm, making false documents without proper authority, abduction amongst others.
In his testimony, Seedy Saidybah testified that Babucarr Sallah and Tamba Mansray left the NIA headquarters few minutes before 4:00 a.m. on the 15th of April, 2016 and returned some minutes after 4:00 a.m., adding that Lamin Lang Sanyang arrived at about 4:00 a.m. on board the operation vehicle holding a bag.
The witness further testified that he saw Lamin Lang Sanyang with a stethoscope when he alighted from the vehicle and went inside.
The witness revealed that Lamin Lang Sanyang used to come to the NIA headquarters prior to the 15th of April, 2016, to check sick staff.
Seedy Saidybah told the court that prior to closing at about 8:00 a.m. on the 15th of April, 2016, he conducted security checks on the detainees and found Noghoi Njie, Fatoumatta Camara and Fatoumatta Jawara lying on the floor at the reception, thereafter proceeded to Bambadinka cell, opened it and found Kafu Bayo, Modou Ngum and Ebrima Jabang sitting on cartons on the cell floor.
The witness averred that he noticed that the detainees were in bad condition as their bodies were injured most particularly their hands and legs.
Seedy Saidybah disclosed that at that particular point in time Solo Sandeng had already been removed from the Banbadinka cell by Lamin Darboe and could not find Solo Sandeng there.
The witness further disclosed that he personally opened the NIA main gate for Tamba Mansaray, Babucarr Sallah and Lamin Lang Sanyang at about 4:00 a.m. and after 4.00 a.m. respectively.
The witness said after confirming the presence of the six detainees, he realised that Solo Sandeng wasn’t among them by the time he closed, adding that at the time he was doing his handover he left Kafu Bayo, Modou Ngum, Ebrima Jabang, Noghoi Njie, Fatoumatta Jawara and Fatoumatta Camara.
He revealed that he saw Solo Sandeng entered into the NIA but he never saw him leaving the NIA premises.
Seedy Saidybah testified that when he resumed work at about 8:00 a.m. on the 17th of April, 2016 he saw the six detainees but found Noghoi Njie, Fatoumatta Jawara and Fatoumatta Camara lying on the bench and admitted at the clinic.
The witness informed the court that Shekh Omar Jeng, Babucarr Sallah, Tamba Mansaray, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang were inside the clinic.
The witness was asked by the prosecuting counsel, Rachel Y. Mendy to go and identify the accused persons which he did.
Responding to questions posed to him by lawyer C. E. Mene, the counsel for the 1st accused person, Yankuba Badjie, the witness admitted that Mbenba Camara is his boss and that on the 14th April, 2016, Mbenba Camara was the shift leader.
The witness clarified that he closed at about 8:00 a.m. on the 15th of April, 2016, but resumed on the 17th of April, 2016, and that due to the nature of his job, he is required to go to work even though if he shift falls on a Friday.
He revealed that he worked for 24 hours during shift duties and that he started working at the Intelligence Apparatus since 1st of January, 2008.
The witness told the court that Banbadinka is a Mandinka Language and does not know who named the cell Banbadinka, adding that the cell was already called Banbadinka before he joined the NIA in 2008.
Asked whether there are crocodiles or alligators inside Banbadinka Cell, the witness replied that the cell was named after where crocs are kept but it doesn’t means that Crocs or Alligators live there.