(Wednesday 16th October 2019 Issue)
“I didn’t know about Solo Sandeng’s arrest immediately. I only knew about it the following day. I tried to go to Dippa Kunda but I was called and informed that Solo had died. I went with Ousainou Darboe, the party leader of United Democratic Party and he called for a press conference for us to demonstrate peacefully. Darboe asked us not to insult anyone and we should not arm ourselves, instead we should carry white papers with writings that we need Solo Sandeng dead or alive.”
She said when they were on the streets to demonstrate, the paramilitary personnel came and arrested their leaders, including Darboe.
“After the arrest, I went to Solo’s house and I saw soldiers with masks coming with Yamundow, who they entered with in the compound. I think they were looking for Solo’s wife and daughter.”
She pointed that after the arrest of their leaders, they were arranged before the court, where they usually have difficulties with paramilitaries in attending the proceedings.
“On May 9, I went to attend the court and stopped around the Arch 22, but the paramilitaries asked us to leave the place. On that day, Sukai Dahaba distributed T. Shirts with writings ‘Kalama revolution.’ She also gave us Kalama (Calabash) and brooms to wipe out former President Yahya Jammeh.”
The witness said they wanted to enter the court but Gorgi Mboob denied them, which resulted to argument and the paramilitaries started to beat them with their batons.
She said after the incident, they called their drivers but they were denied coming because they were warned and they walked through Bond road in Banjul and met soldiers who asked them to board their vehicle but she said no.
“They said if we fail to board our vehicles then we will not pass. A truck later took us up to GTTI. From there, we walked by foot and when we reached at the PIU headquarters, we found many paramilitaries on the highway. We told them that we want peace but while they allowed us to pass, they threw tear gas at us and started beating us.”
The witness further stated that they ran and two paramilitaries catch her and beat her but she later ran to Jakaranda where she also saw them beating people and taking them to the PIU headquarters.
“We were later arraigned before the court and when we went to Ousainou Darboe’s compound, we saw soldiers coming and the current President Adama Barrow and a state house worker Lamin Cham were there but they both ran and hid. Yama went to the gate but the soldiers were confronting each other and later left.”
She also testified on the May 17th incident, saying on that day, they were going to court and when they reached Bond road, they found paramilitaries there who asked them about their identification cards but she told them they didn’t have it. She added that they were taken to PIU headquarters in Kanifing.
“They took us to a parlor and there was a table and chairs. The paramilitary officer who was questioning me slapped me. I knew him because he is from Yarambamba. I was later kept in a cell with Mariama Sandeng at around 12pm. While in the cell, we were not given food until the following day.”
She said later at night, a paramilitary officer took Mariama away and two people with masks on their faces later came to the cell. She said a man called Sanneh whose voice she recognised opened the cell and raped her and the other guy also raped her using condom.”
She continued that in the morning, they were given bread and tea. She said she met Mariama there and she told her that nothing had happened to her and they were released later in the day.
She indicated that she sustained injuries and her whole body was paining, adding that at home, her mother will use boiled banana leaves to treat her to reduce the pain. “I went to the hospital for pregnancy test and also to victim centre because I was concerned whether I was pregnant or not.”