Startling revelations at NIA trial

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Sheikh Tijan Camara, an official of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) and the 19th prosecution witness in the ongoing criminal trial involving the State and eight former officials of the defunct NIA yesterday made startling revelations during cross examination before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara at the High Court in Banjul.

Sheikh Tijan Camara whilst responding to questions posed to him by Defence Counsel D.S. Dagoh, disclosed that he has been working for the SIS for the past four years and has known the accused persons for the past four years.

The witness further disclosed that Lamin Lang Sanyang was in charge of the medic at the defunct NIA Headquarters in Banjul and that he was also aware that Lamin Lang Sanyang also works at the Serekunda General Hospital.

The witness told the court that he didn’t see Lamin Lang Sanyang at the NIA premises on the 14th of April, 2016, but maintained that Sheikh Omar Jeng, the 3rd accused person organised a patrol team to go and pick Lamin Lang Sanyang around 4:00 a.m. on the 15th of April, 2016.

The witness disclosed that Lamin Lang Sanyang checked the body of the late Solo Sandeng before it was taken to Tanji village.

He testified that Sheik Omar Jeng instructed him, one Bala Gaye and some other people to put the remains of Solo Sandeng inside the pick-up van that took him to Tanji.

The witness further told the court that Lamin Lang Sanyang was present when Sheikh Omar Jeng instructed them to put the remains of late Solo Sandeng into the vehicle, adding that Lamin Lang Sanyang was the very one who was pushing the late Solo Sandeng legs into the vehicle.

Sheikh Tijan Camara testified that Lamin Lang Sanyang gave them gloves to wear so as not to get infections and he went with them to Tanji but boarded another vehicle to Tanji.

The witness further testified that he knows PW2; Dawda Ndure but cannot remember whether Dawda Ndure was part of the team that went to Tanji.

When put to him that Dawda Ndure testified that on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th April, 2016 he never said Lamin Lang Sanyang was at Tanji.

The witness replied that he wasn’t in court to testify on what other witnesses said but that he was in court to speak the truth, adding that nothing would compel him to lie neither to conceal the truth about the late Solo Sandeng’s death.

Responding to questions posed by lawyer Ibrahim Jallow, defence counsel for the 3rd accused person, Sheikh Omar Jeng, the witness told the court that he cannot remember whether he was asked to report to the Police Headquarters on the 15th of March, 2018, but reported at the Police Headquarters either on the 16th or the 17th of March, 2018.

Put to him that he reported at the Police Headquarters on the 16th of March, 2018 and released on bail on the 19th March, 2018, the witness replied he cannot remember.

The witness debunked the defence claims that there was no vehicle owned by the defunct NIA with plate number BJl 9813k, adding that the said vehicle was used to bring suspects from the Mile 2 Central Prison.

Sheikh Tijan Camara clarified that they brought three ladies from Mile 2 Prison in their first trip and in their second trip they brought only male suspects.

The witness testified that his former boss received a call from Sheikh Omar Jeng, the 3rd accused person on the 14th of April, 2016, and on the 15th of April, 2016, was the day that the late Solo Sandeng was buried.

Asked why he didn’t report the incident at the defunct NIA to the police, the witness replied that it was a very sensitive issue and that he cannot just go and report to the police but he wrote his statement when the need arose.

The witness revealed that he went with Yusupha Jammeh, Yankuba Jallow, Quassy Mendy, Bakary Jammeh and one Mr. Gibba to Mile 2 Central Prison to pick the suspects.

Responding to questions posed to him by lawyer Saikou Fatty of the National Legal Aid Agency, defence counsel for Babucarr Sallah, Tamba Mansaray and Lamin Darboe, the witness told the court that Lamin Darboe was a technician at the defunct NIA and that 14th of April, 2016, was a standby day.

The witness further told the court that he saw a woman sitting whilst the trio was standing by and Babucarr Sallah was holding a fan belt.

The witness maintained that he has been inside the white house inside the defunct NIA premises, adding it house some offices.

Put to him that his evidence was fabricated and that all he told the court was false?

The witness replied that all he told the court was nothing but the truth because he was under oath when he was testifying before the court. 

Author: Bruce Asemota