Yankuba Sonko said we staged a coup d’ état: UDP’s Fatou Camara tells court

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Fatou Camara, UDP Ebo Town ward chairperson, on the 29th January, 2019, testified in the case involving Yankuba Badjie and other former NIA officers before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the High Court in Banjul.

When the case resumed, lawyer Antouman Gaye rose and told the court that he was representing the state along with Combeh Gaye, Yassin Senghore and Counsel Mendy. Counsels Mene, Jallow, Chime, Suso and Dago represented the defence.

She told the court that Yankuba Colley, former mayor, and Yankuba Sonko, former IGP, came, saying that there was a man who told Yankuba Colley that since the incident happened in his municipality, they should negotiate for their release but Yankuba Sonko said that they staged a coup d’ etat and they should be taken to Mile 2. She added that, they numbered 20 and they were handcuffed and put into the same truck and taken to Mile 2. She stated that Solo Sandeng and Kafu Bayo were taken to the NIA headquarters in Banjul.

Fatou Camara, in her testimony, told the court that she lives at Ebo Town and is 55 years old, and she is also a widow. She said that she has four boys and a girl. She narrated that on the 14th April, 2016, she went out to attend a wedding ceremony, noting that she proceeded to Serekunda Market to buy something for the ceremony.

She said that at Mile 2, she found David Colley and others, adding that they wanted to put some wooden elements around her neck but she refused. She stated that it was then put around the necks of other people, noting that she did not know the purpose of the wooden elements. She disclosed that there was a woman called Maa who called her and asked her where she was going, and she told her that they had a wedding ceremony. She adduced that then Maa called a man and told him to release her because she was going to attend a wedding ceremony but he refused.

She further testified that she slept until late at night at Mile 2 and was taken to the NIA in a vehicle along with Fatoumata Jawara, noting that she did not know the person who took them to the NIA. She narrated that at the NIA, she heard people screaming, stating that she was taken to a room where there was a long table.

She said that a man came and started asking questions, saying that Lang Marong, herself and Fatoumata Jawara were taken to the room where they found many people entering and going out.  She adduced that she was asked why she went to Westfield and asked further whether she was asked by Ousainou Darboe to go there.

She stated that she answered in the negative, noting that she told them that she did not know whether people went out to stage a coup d’ etat, and that she did not know those who were asking questions but would be able to recognise them if she saw them. She revealed that during the interview, a man insulted her and kicked the chair on which she was sitting, and she got up.

She told the court that the chair went up to where Lang Marong was and got injured on his side, adding that she was called to go outside by someone who spoke Manjago.

She revealed that the person she went to told her to go to Kanifing Sillah Kunda, adding that when she was coming, she arrived at Westfield junction where she found UDP members. She told the court that she is a UDP member, stating that she asked Pa Lang Sonko and Solo Sandeng what happened at Westfield. She adduced that they told her to go since she had a wedding ceremony and they would tell her what happened later.

She disclosed that she saw banners with the UDP members but did not know what was written on them and she asked somebody to tell her what was written on the banners. She stated that while she was sitting with some Fullas, a man dressed in white came, saying that she saw Solo Sandeng talking with the man. She noted that the man left after he spoke to Solo Sandeng.

She told the court that there was a boy who sat near her and she asked him why he was running away, adducing that the boy told her that the PIU officers had arrived, and she told him to recite the Quran. She narrated further that people were running as the PIU officers were beating them, indicating that she  saw a woman who clapped her hands and told her that she was a traitor.

She stated that two PIU officers came and found her where she was sitting, adding that she got up and the PIU officers slapped her. She said that one of the PIU officers told the other that he should not have slapped her, noting that she was taken to a truck and asked to climb. She testified that she was held and thrown into the vehicle by the PIU officers, and that she was taken to the PIU headquarters at Kanifing.

She disclosed that they were brought down from the vehicle and asked to form a line, saying that she could not count the number of people who were taken there. She noted that a man came and said that they should be taken in a hall and asked to sit on the floor around 2 p.m.  She said further that Nogoi Njie, Fatoumata Jawara, Pa Lang Sonko, Muhamadou Jawneh, Kafu Bayo and Solo Sandeng were also with her.

Hearing continues.        

Author: Dawda Faye