April 14th, UDP detainee Ebrima Jabang testifies in NIA 9 trial

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ebrima Jabang, one of April 14th 2016 detainee yesterday testified as the 16th prosecution witness before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara at the High Court in Banjul in the ongoing criminal trial involving former nine officials of the defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA) now SIS.

Ebrima Jabang, a resident of Tujenren, retired civil servant and 68 years old in 2016 testified that on the 14th April, 2016 he was together with Kafu Bayo, Modou Ngum, Solo Sandeng and Noghoi Njie at Serekunda Bambo where they gathered and later proceeded to Westfield on a march to voice out their dissatisfaction about the system in the country, namely: demanding for electoral reforms in the country, closure of the Gambia borders and the economic hardship in the country.

Ebrima Jabang further testified that upon arrival at Westfied, they were intercepted by some PIU officers who picked them and put them in their truck and drove them to the PIU headquarters in Kanifing.

The witness revealed that at the PIU headquarters, they were placed inside a hall and their particulars were obtained including their belongings.

The witness clarified that the other people namely Solo Sandeng, Noghoi Njie, Modou Ngum and Kafu Bayo were members of the United Democratic Party (UDP).

Ebrima Jabang said whilst at PIU headquarters in Kanifing he saw the then Inspector General of Police, Sonko, Yankuba Colley,KMC mayor and one Lamin Beyai, an NIA officer.

He revealed that after writing their names, the author left and returned few moments later and called his name, Kafu Bayo, Solo Sandeng,, Modou Ngum, Noghoi Njie to come out from the hall.

“We came and I saw a white pick-up van standing, we were handcuffed and put in the vehicle and taken to the NIA office at Marina Parade in Banjul where we were screened and our photographs were taken by a cameraman” he stated.

The witness told the court that at the security room, he handed over his wrist watch and a thousand dalasi (D1000) and thereafter they were led into a hall where they found some NIA officers.

Ebrima Jabang further told the court that whilst he, Kafu Bayo, and Modou Ngum were inside the hall seated on the floor, they heard Solo Sandeng crying saying “YOU ARE KILLING ME”.

The witness also told the court that they also heard Noghoi Njie crying bitterly whilst they were giving statements.

Ebrima Jabang testified that whilst they (Kafu Bayo and Modou Ngum) were inside the cell seated on the floor, Solo Sandeng was brought into the cell, followed shortly by Noghoi Njie.

He explained that at the time Solo Sandeng and Noghoi Njie were brought into the cell they were unable to speak as they were in pain.

The witness told the court that when Solo Sandeng and Noghoi Njie were brought into the cell, Kafu Bayo was called by the same person whom he didn’t see because it was very dark as it was already dusk.

The witness said Modou Ngum was first taken and then Kafu Bayo and when Kafu Bayo returned he tried to ask him what happened to him but he couldn’t speak but he realized that he was in deep pain.

Ebrima Jabang testified that he was later taking and he explained that the officers were operating very wisely, adding that the moment a detainee comes out of the cell, they grab the shoulder from behind so that one cannot turn around, see or know the identity of the person.

Explaining his ordeal, the witness disclosed that his hands were tied behind, he was blindfolded with a piece of cloth and a big cap was placed over his head and taken to the place where he was beaten.

Furthermore, the witness disclosed that he was placed on a table his legs were tied up to the neck and was beaten by more than three people by whips on his back.

The witness told the court that he was beaten several time, they will rest and start again noting that during the time he was beaten the alleged perpetrators were using abusive language saying “YOU MANDINKA, THIS IS THE END OF YOU.”

Ebrima Jabang told the court that after he was beaten, he was brought to the door of a hall and the piece of cloth used in blindfolding him was removed and then taking into the hall.

Inside the hall, the witness told the court that he was asked which of the political party does he belong and he replied UDP.

The witness testified that after the interview, he was taken to the cell where he found Solo Sandeng, Noghoi Njie, Modou Ngum and Kafu Bayo.

He pointed out that few moments after he was returned to the cell, when he found Solo Sandeng, they were scared because they thought Solo Sandeng was at the stage of dying.

“Because at that time, he cannot sit but was crawling and myself and Noghoi Njie were trying to ask him what he need. I personally thought of giving him water but we have no water, it was at that point in time that we heard a voice at the cell door calling him (Solo Sandeng),” he said.

The witness revealed that shortly after Solo Sandeng was taken away, Noghoi Njie was also taken out of the cell.

Ebrima Jabang testified that after Solo Sandeng was taken away, he heard him crying speaking in Mandinka Language saying “Ar be falla”, you are killing me until his crying died out.

The witness further testified that whilst inside the cell with Modou Ngum, Kafu Bayo, they were crying in pain and after Solo Sandeng was taken away he had never set his eyes on him.

The witness disclosed that he spent 14 days at the NIA cell adding that during the period he was detained they use to go out to wash their faces early in the morning.

Ebrima Jabang informed the court that he lost one of his eyes as a result of the beating and he is suffering from hypertension, difficulties in passing out urine and chest problem.

Hearing continues on Monday, 21st May, 2018.

Author: Bruce Asemota