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Ex-NIA unit head opens defence in NIA torture case

Sep 14, 2012, 10:45 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Edrissa Jobe, former head of the special operations unit at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), yesterday opened his defence, as the third defence witness in the case involving him and others at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Principal Magistrate Taiwo Ade Alagbe.

The former senior NIA operatives are Lamin Darboe, Alagie Edrissa Jobe alias Alagie Morr, former NIA head of the special operations unit, Ebrima Drammeh alias Gim, NIA commissioner Kanifing Division and Omar Jammeh alias Boy Boots, officer commanding West Coast Region.

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

Jobe told the court that some time in March 2009, he was called by the then Director of Internal Security, Ebrima Drammeh, in his capacity as the head of special operations unit to form a reinforcement team to Brikama for an operation.

The operation was for drug-related issue involving three NDEA officers, Lamin Sima, Lamin Kabour, Tijan Ndure and a Guinea Bassau national.

“I was not part of the operation. My role was to organize the reinforcement team in my capacity, but I was not on the ground physically. I was at the NIA main office in Banjul,” he said.

The only role he played in the operation was when the suspects were brought to the NIA in Banjul, he said, adding that he escorted them to the investigation department of the NIA, to their officer commanding, Sukuta Jammeh.

He added that he was not part of the investigation team, but knew that after the investigation the case file was sent to the AG’s Chambers for legal advice and the suspects were later arraigned at the Brikama Magistrates’ Court.

Under cross-examination, Jobe told the court that it was never true that he used a pair of scissors to tear Lamin Sima’s trousers, further stating that he  had little to do with the suspects, apart from escorting them to the investigation department.   

He also said that he was not aware of any beating, and that he was not aware that Lamin Kabou ran naked from the NIA to the NDEA main office in Banjul.

Asked by D.O. Kulo whether he knew one Sukuta Jammeh, officer commanding investigation, whose vehicle was used to transport the complainants for treatment four times, Jobe told the court that he knew Sukuta Jammeh but denied torturing them.

He told the court that as the head of special operations unit at the time, he even had less opportunity to talk to them.

Asked whether he was happy when Lamin Kabou ran naked from the NIA to the NDEA office in Banjul, Jobe told the court that he was not happy because the suspect was at that time an escapee from their custody.

Asked whether when he went to the NDEA office to collect the suspect, he did not see him bleeding with blood, Jobe told the court that he did not see the suspect bleeding any blood, and that he acted on a directive given to him by the then Director General of NIA, Bo Badjie, to go for him.

When it was put to him that he and his team seriously tortured the complainants without any reasons, Jobe again denied torturing any of the complainants, but instead they were trying to carry out their national duty.

He denied that he had ever told the complainants that nothing would come out of the case.

Jobe added that he was never aware that the Guinea Bassau national had fled with the 15,000 euro through Lamin Sima and Lamin Kabou.

“I was only informed by my colleagues, when they recovered the said money,” he told the court.

He added that regarding claims that electric cables were used in beating the suspects, he said that was never true and that at the NIA there was nothing like torturing.

His defence counsel is L. Farage.

The case was then adjourned till  24 September 2012.

The charge sheet on count one stated that the three 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 stated that the accused persons, with intent to cause grievous harm to Lamin Kabou and Lamin Sima, unlawfully wounded them, by beating them with fist blows, electric cables and metal.