I did not kill anyone, PIU Chief Inspector testifies

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

The Chief Inspector at The Gambia Police Force has told the Commission of Inquiry set up to probe into the Faraba incident that he was not armed neither to kill anybody.

Edrissa Sanneh, who was testifying at the ongoing commission set up to probe into the circumstances leading to the standoff  between the villagers of Faraba Bantang and the Police Intervention Unit, maintained that he was only wearing his helmet and other protective gears.

Sanneh, who has been in the police service for 14 years, further told the commission that his Commander Baboucarr Cham informed him that Julakay was doing sand mining business at Faraba.

‘’At our guard we were assigned to guard the workers of Julakay. We were forty PIU officers posted at the said mining site as we created the guard post” he told the commission.

He said his men were carrying Ak 47s, tear gasses, gas grenades, seals, batons and helmets.

He explained that this was before the incidents took place, adding that he was in charge of the said guard post.

Sanneh recalled that he reported at work around 8 p.m. on that on 18th of June while at work, he received a phone call from boss OC Cham to get prepared with his men.

Chief Inspector Sanneh further testified that he was informed by OC Cham that the youths of Faraba were about to organise a demonstration.

He said they gathered as joint task force, comprising men from different units under the Police Intervention Unit, estimating the figure to be around 130 PIU officers, who were on standby ahead of the planned demonstration in Faraba.

Testifying further, Sanneh indicated that OC Cham and ASP Bala Musa Fatty engaged the community so as to calm down the angry youths, but he said that the youths started stoning at the PIU officers.

“That’s the time they started defending themselves by firing teargases.”

He also said OC Cham and ASP Bala Musa were the Commanders on the ground, saying he called the attention of OC Cham that the tension is getting critical and that the angry youths are getting closer to their security formation.

Sanneh said he alerted OC Cham that they can’t control the angry youths anymore as they were chasing them with stones and he said OC Cham ordered them to withdraw.

Sanneh adduced that during the confrontation, Musa Fatty, a PIU officer was knocked down by the angry youths, adding that he quickly rushed to safe him, while Musa was already injured. There, he said, he collected Musa’s rifle which was lying on the ground.

Sanneh said he checked Musa Fatty’s riffle and confirmed that some of the bullets in Fatty’s riffle were missing. This, he further adduced shows that Musa was having a pistol in a holster, a purse where they keep pistol, different from the AK 47 he was holding.

He told the Commission that Musa later told him that the pistol was missing during the confrontation, positing that he collected the riffle from Musa which was later handed over to Officer Sanneh alias Osama Bin Laden, who was the unit in controlled of amour in Brikama.

Sanneh testify that he was with Musa till they retreated from the scene, further testifying that after retreating, both himself and Musa and other officers returned back to the scene.

Though, Sanneh admitted that at the Commission that the PIU officers were the only ones with guns at the scene, and that if anyone sustained injury it remain their fault.

Sanneh also admitted that he heard several gun shots during the incident and that was the time when the reinforcement team has just arrived at the scene.

He maintained that their commanders who were on the ground namely, OC Cham and ASP Fatty should be in a better position to explain what happened and who gave orders for the shooting.

Sanneh revealed that his team did not arrest anyone and that they were the first to arrive at the incident before they were asked to withdraw. He added that they later joined the reinforcement team that came to give support. The reinforcement team, he went on, were the ones conducting arrests.

According to him, during the incident he was being posted at the Brikama PIU unit and that he is currently posted at the Fatoto PIU post. 

Author: Mamour M. Mbenga