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Alleged Casamance rebels to open defence as prosecution closes case

Mar 17, 2011, 12:29 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Justice J.E. Ikapla of the Special Criminal Court in Banjul on 16 March 2011 told the 17 men alleged to be rebels from the southern Senegalese region of Casamance that it was time to start their defence against the charges preferred against them by state prosecutors.

The judge’s comment came after the Director of Special Litigations at the Attorney General’s Chambers, Daniel O. Kulo, announcement on 16th March 2011 that the prosecution has closed its case, following the testimony of four prosecution witnesses.

The accused persons who were all present in court included Yusupha Ceesay, Modou Lamin Badjie,  Saku Jammeh, Zackaria Jatta, Tijan Camara, Mafuji Jarju, Abdoulie Sonko, Hatab Jatta, Abdou Badjie, Ebrima Jarju, Sang Sambou, Basiru Jammeh, Seedy Sanyang, Tumani Manga, Alasana Jarju and Aziz Kujabi.

They all denied the charges, which include unlawful possession of firearms in the Republic of the Gambia, and illegal entry into The Gambia.

It was alleged that in October 2010 at Bulock and Bajana villages in the West Coast Region, the alleged rebels were found in possession of an assortment of arms of war and ammunitions without authority.

“My Lord, I wish to announce the closure of the prosecution case at this stage, and we seek an adjournment to enable the accused persons open their defence,” DO Kulo told the superior court.

The accused persons, who are not represented by a lawyer, were then informed through an interpreter that the prosecution has closed its case, and it was their time to open their defence, and that the court will give them time to prepare their defence.

The case was subsequently adjourned to 23 March for defence.

The accused persons, in handcuffs, were escorted to and from the court by the paramilitary police.

Readers would recall that the 17 accused persons were first arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, on Wednesday 13th October 2010, charged with one count of being in possession of an assortment of arms of war and ammunitions without authority.