UDP 14 trial: Witness not aware of 10,000 man match-past condemning military coup in Gambia

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Halimatou Ceesay

Sub-Inspector Samba Bah, a PIU officer, yesterday told the court during cross-examination that he was not aware of the 10,000 man match-past in The Gambia condemning military coup.

He was responding to a question from defence counsel B.S. Touray, in the criminal trial involving 14 supporters of the United Democratic Party (UDP) before Justice O. Ottaba of the Special Criminal Court in Banjul.

The accused persons are Bakary Jammeh, Kaddy Samateh, Lele Bojang, Alkali Sanneh, Yaya Fatty, Muhammed Singhateh, Kemo Touray, Bakary Marong, Buba Mass, Alagie Saidykhan, Tombong Njie, Modou Sarr, Sheriff Suma, and Lamin Dampha

They are being tried on a seven-count charge of conspiracy to commit felony, unlawful assembly, and riot, incitement of violence, interfering with vehicles, holding a procession without a permit and disobeying an order to disperse.

When the case was called, B. Jaiteh and Sanneh appeared for the state, whilst the defendants were represented by A. Sisay-Sabally, B.S. Touray, Y. Senghore, C. Gaye and A. Njie.

Continuing cross-examination, defence counsel B.S. Touray asked the witness: “You remember we have several pro-government demonstrations in the country in the past?”

“I cannot remember. I know of this one.”

“I mean demonstrations organised by the government itself, that is what I mean by pro-government.”

“I am not aware of any demonstration organised by the government.”

“How about match-past or procession being organised by government, are you aware of that?”

“No.”

“You mean you are not aware of the 10, 000 man match-past organised in the country condemning military coup?”

“No.”

“You don’t remember the match-past organised condemning the 17 points EU Human Rights demand on Gambia Government?”

“No.”

“You will agree with me that even as you don’t remember those occasions, but it is true that the para-military were not mobilised to disrupt these processions and arrest participants in them?”

“They were not arrestable demonstrations.”

“On this day, did you have any complaints from any member of the public that his or her vehicle was commandeered? “

“No.”

“Did you also received any complaints from the PIU or by any member of the public that his or her vehicle has been damaged by any group?”

“Not to my knowledge.”

“Were any of your security or patrol vehicles damaged by this group on this day?”

“I am not aware.”

“Did you receive any complaints from government that any of their official vehicles have been commandeered by these people on that day?”

“Not to my knowledge.”

“Did you also receive a formal complaint from any member of the public complaining of any traffic blockage?”

“Yes.”

“Can you give me the names of such one complainant?”

“No.”

“You spoke about passers-by can you estimate the size of the crowd you refer to as passers-by?”

“I don’t exactly know how many, but it happened on a public highway.”

“These passers-by were passing by on a public highway. Isn’t that right?”

“Yes.”

“Did they stop to watch what was going on?”

“Yes.”

“Do you know who they were?”

“No.”

“Do you know their party affiliation?”

“No.”

“Do the passers-by have any feature of identification?”

“I don’t observe that.”

“Do you arrest anyone with any party flag?”

“Yes.”

“And who was this person?”

“I can’t identify any of them?

“Do you find any party identity card on anyone?”

“I don’t see any of them with any party identity card.”

“Do you know the names of all those who were part of the two platoons?”

“I can’t remember.”

“Are you telling the court that you don’t know the names of your colleagues?”

“I cannot remember all those who participated in the arresting, on that day.”

Hearing continues today at 4pm.