Nogoi Njie says she refused her eyes being covered at NIA

Friday, January 18, 2019

Nogoi Njie, a UDP member, on the 16th January, 2019, told the High Court in Banjul before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara that some NIA officers wanted to cover her eyes with a piece of cloth and she refused. She was continuing her testimony in the case involving Yankuba Badjie and other former NIA officers.

When the case started, Lawyer Antouman Gaye, the lead counsel, told the court that he was representing the state along with Counsels Mendy, Senghore and Combeh Gaye. Counsels Chime, Jallow, Fatty and Suso represented the defense.

Counsel Mendy, who was leading the witness, Nogoi Njie, asked her what she did when she found that the meeting at the UDP bureau at Manjai finished. In response, she told the court that she did nothing. She further testified that she got a vehicle and they went to Westfield for a demonstration to show their anger to the public.

She adduced that she could not mention all those who were on the demonstration but could remember some of them. She said that Lamin Cham, Solo Sandeng, Modou Ngum, Kafu Bayo and Lamin Jatta were among them. She added that they demonstrated because they wanted the IEC to make electoral reform.

Further testifying, Mrs. Njie told the court that the PIU came and arrested them, noting that some ran away and some disappeared, and that she could not run. She disclosed that they had confrontation before they were arrested with Commissioner Ebrima Sanneh and another person whose name she could not remember. She stated that it was Commissioner Sanneh who told them to leave Westfield.

She informed the court that the time Commissioner Sanneh made a call, she saw the PIU arrived and asked them to disperse, adding that some of them ran away and those who stayed were arrested. She narrated that they moved from where they were and went to the other side. She testified that Commissioner Sanneh communicated with Solo Sandeng, further stating that Commissioner Sanneh told Solo Sandeng to go to the police station and they would discuss.

She informed the court that the PIU arrived before they reached the police station, noting that many people were arrested, including Solo Sandeng, herself, Lang Marong, Kafu Bayo, Ebrima Jabang, Pa Lang Sonko, Modou Ngum, Fatoumata Jawara etc. at Westfield by the PIU and they were packed into their trucks, adding that they were taken to the PIU headquarters but could not tell the distance from Westfield to the PIU headquarters.

She testified that people working at the PIU  were wearing uniforms, and that she recognised Yankuba Colley, the former mayor, who called her name, adding that she also recognised one Lamin Touray who was not wearing civilian clothes. She said that when they went to the PIU, the officers brought two double cabins, and was asked to board one of them with Modou Ngum. She said that they were handcuffed, noting that Yankuba Colley and the former Interior Minister, Ousman Sonko, asked them to get into the vehicle.

Nogoi Njie told the court that they got into the vehicle which was white in colour, disclosing that Solo Sandeng was put in another vehicle and their vehicle followed the vehicle where Solo Sandeng was. She said that they were six in numbers who were taken to the NIA. She narrated that Solo Sandeng and Kafu Bayo were in the first vehicle, and she and Modou Ngum and two students along with other PIU officers boarded the same vehicle. She testified that she did not know how the others got to the NIA.

She stated that at the NIA, she appealed to them to remove the handcuff because it was very tight, and it was one James who removed the handcuff. She told the court that a lot happened to her, noting that when they removed the handcuff from her hand, they searched her body to see whether she had some charm on her.

The witness said that an old man with some beard and prayer beads came and James asked her to follow the old man, adding that she was the only one who was searched and Solo Sandeng was asked to go. She disclosed that they took them inside, one after the other but she and Solo Sandeng were taken together.

She went on to say that Modou Ngum, Kafu Bayo and herself were taken inside and she was left alone, adding that the students were taken from there. She further adduced that the old man took her from the cell and took her to a room to be interviewed, stating that the old man came with three men who covered their faces so that she could not recognise them. She told the court that she was interviewed and taken back to the cell.

She stated that during the interview, she was asked what she knew about her presence at Westfield and she told them, saying that she did not know those who were conducting the interview. She said that after the interview, they took her back to the cell and they brought a young boy and the same old man asked her to follow the boy.

Nogoi Njie informed the court that the boy who took her was crying, and told her that he was only sent, stating that she told the boy to go ahead. She adduced that she knew that where she was being taken to was not a good place, and this was why the boy was crying.

She noted that the moment they reached the place, the boy announced her arrival, saying that she held the piece of cloth when they wanted to cover her eyes. She told the court that they wanted to throw her on the ground but she resisted, noting that Sheikh Omar Jeng then came in.

At this juncture, Counsel Mendy asked her to identify Sheikh Omar Jeng. She then walked to where the accused persons were and pointed at Sheikh Omar Jeng.

Nogoi Njie is expected to tell the court more about her confrontation with the NIA officers on 21 January, 2019.        

Author: Dawda Faye