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Defence opens in former NIA officials’ torture case

Aug 2, 2012, 10:25 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Defence opens on Tuesday in the case involving four former senior personnel of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Principal Magistrate Alagbe Ade Taiwo.

They are Lamin Darboe, Alhagie Edrissa Jobe alias Alagie Morr, former head of the special operations unit at NIA, Ebrima Drammeh alias Jim, who was NIA commissioner for Kanifing Division and Omar Jammeh alias Boy Boots, the officer commanding West Coast Region.

They are being tried for the offences of assault causing actual bodily harm, common assault, and assault causing grievous bodily harm.

The first defence witness, Lamin Darboe, told the court that, in May 2009, he received a call from his boss that he should join an operation at Kembujeh village, in the West Coast Region.

“When I received that call, I was somewhere around the border village called Dasilami on official assignment. Upon my arrival at Kembujeh, I found two people were arrested, Tijan Ndure, PW1, and another suspect whose name I did not know,” he said.

He added that he went to Kembujeh Highway, but he did not find anybody at the scene and he proceeded to the police station, where he picked up Tijan Ndure at the Brikama Police Station and they went with him to his house where a search was conducted.

Darboe added that after conducting a search, 18 wraps of suspected cocaine were found in his house, as well as bundles of suspected cannabis.

He said during the search one Nigerian was also found in the house of Tijan Ndure.

Darboe revealed that when he went to the police station to pick Tijan Ndure, he left Edrissa Jobe and Ebrima Drammeh at the police station.

He said that after searching the house of Tijan Ndure, the two suspects were later taken to NIA investigation department in Banjul.

Under cross-examination, when told that he (Lamin Darboe) was among the officers who beat Lamin Sima and Lamin Kabour, Darboe said, “I did not even recognize them at the scene”.

Darboe further told the court that he had been in the service for the past 10 years, and carried many investigations of such a nature on behalf of the state.

“During my 10 years, I have never used force in my investigations, but instead I used my experience as a senior officer,” he said.

He added that the second accused person was not present at the time much more having any pistol, adding that none of the officers opened fire as a warning shot, as stated by the accused persons in their evidence.

When further asked whether he participated in the beating or other officers, Darboe said he did not participate, and did not remember seeing Lamin Sima and Lamin Karbou at the scene.

Told that as a result of the torture, Lamin Karbou decided to run away naked from the NIA main office in Banjul to the NDEA main office in Banjul, Darboe said he was not aware of that, though he did heard people talking about it.

The case was adjourned till 8 August 2012, for hearing.

The charge sheet on count one stated that the accused persons some time in May 2009, at the NIA head office in Banjul, conspired to cause injury to the persons of Lamin Kabou and Lamin Sima.

Count two added that the accused persons some time in May 2009, at the NIA head office in Banjul, with intent to cause grievous harm to Lamin Kabou and Lamin Sima, unlawfully wounded Lamin Kabou and Lamin Sima, by beating them with fist blows, electric cables and metal.