Feb 17, 2009, 4:51 AM
witnesses testified before the TRRC yesterday as regards to their arrests and
subsequent detentions at Mile 2 Central Prison. They recollected horrible
treatments meted on them in 1996 by members of the security forces of the
former president, Yahya Jammeh.
Alfusainey Touray, a resident of Brikama who is based in the U.S., recalled his father Karamo Touray was the Imam of Brikama at the time of mosque incident in Brikama.
He explained that the incident started after a group of young people intended to build a fence at the Brikama Mosque, and during that discussion with elders of the community, his father told them not to fence the place where elders use near the mosque to wait for prayer time.
He added that his father was given the assurance by the youth that they would not touch the place.
He said the youth group was affiliated to the former APRC regime.
“The elders were arrested and I remember a police officer who told my father to join them but he refused. I later recognised him as Daba Marena who was the head of the plain cloth at State House. Marena told the police officers to forcefully take my father away.”
He indicated that he was also arrested midnight and tortured at the Brikama Police Station with Lamin Waa Juwara who was also “beaten seriously.”
Mr. Touray explained that after all that, they were taken to prison, saying Pa Njaga Mendy a senior NIA officer was the one driving the vehicle.
He narrated that they stopped at Denton Bridge where Waa Juwara was beaten seriously for almost 15 minutes. “Baba Jobe was ordering the beating and it was when Njaga came back and grabbed Jobe’s hands that his men stopped the beating.”
The witness added that they were detained for a week before their trial at Kanifing Magistrates’ Court and then to the high court. He said Ousainou Darboe and Jack Denton were the ones who represented them in court with charges of demolishing a mosque and conspiracy to commit crime.
“We were after granted bail and subsequently used to report at Brikama Magistrates’ Court until 2000, when Magistrate Lamin Darboe dismissed the case.”
Former revenue collector at Brikama Area Council, Abdoulie Sanneh, explained that Alhagie Karamo Touray was the Imam of Brikama till 1998. He said the cause of his arrest was in connection to a job of fencing to be carried by a youth group called High-Pack.
He said the Imam welcomed the idea and gave them ideas of how to carry out the work and not to touch the place they sit within the territory.
“When the youth attempted to destroy the place, the Imam asked them not to. Ba Jerry and I plus two others were the people who demolished the pillars that were built by the youths. After that, in the evening prayer, I saw Kebba Pateh Bojang and armed paramilitaries who arrested and put me in the military truck with Malang Khalifa, Ba Sansang who was around 90 years older and Bakary Jatta who was around 85 years.”
He said they were later taken to Mile 2 Central Prison where they spent 21 days lying on the ground. At the prison, he said, he was able to recognise David Colley and Yahya Jarju alias Chief.
Ba Jarreh also testified that when they (youths) built some pillars, he was part of those who destroyed the pillars. He said the group got their funds from Jammeh’s ex-wife Tuti Faal.
He said he was also arrested after the evening prayers by the armed paramilitaries and put in a truck. He added that they were driven to Police Headquarters, Banjul.