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Farafenni camp commander stuns court

Apr 9, 2010, 4:30 PM | Article By: Soury Camara

Lt. Colonel Yerro N.A. Jallow camp commander of 2nd Infantry Battalion at Farafenni, who was designated prosecution witness number nine (PW9) yesterday made a startling revelation in the ongoing treason trial involving Lt. General Lang Tombong Tamba and seven others at the High Court in Banjul.

Lt. Coconel Jallow told the court: "I can vividly remember on Wednesday 18th November 2009, when I received a phone call from Major Kuluteh, who told me that somebody wants to speak to me as the commanding officer of the 2nd infantry battalion.

I asked Kuluteh who was that somebody, then Major Kuluteh Manneh handed me the person who identified himself as Ebrima Bojang, an intelligence officer from the Office of the President, State House in Banjul."

"I asked the said Ebrima Bojang - what can I do for you? He told me that I am about to embark on an assessment mission with my team to Farrafenni and Basse."

Lt. Colonel Jallow added that Ebrima Bojang told him that "CDS Massaneh Kinteh and deputy CDS Yankuba Drammeh will call him (Lt. Colonel Jallow)."

Later in the evening, he said, "deputy CDS Drammeh called me, and told me that I (Drammeh) called the Army Chief of Staff Brig. General Ousman Badgie, but could not get him. That was why I decided to called you direct."

DCDS Drammeh, PW9 continued, told him that "there will be an assessment team in Farafenni and Basse, and that he personally does not know the assessment team, and does not know what there mission was."

"Deputy CDS Drammeh told me that I should allow the assessment team to get into the camp." "I told him 'Yes sir'" PW9 said.

According to PW9, "that night, at around 22.00pm, the said Ebrima Bojang (also PW1) called me and told me that he is in Farafenni."

"I picked him up with my car, and took him to my house, at my residence. While we were having dinner, out of curiosity I asked the said Ebrima Bojang what was his mission in Farafenni.

"He introduced himself as Ebrima Bojang, and said he is an intelligence officer from State House, and that he was sent by the President."

PW9 further told the court that "Ebrima Bojang revealed to me that they got an intelligence tip-off that some ladies from Senegal, who pretended to be traders whilst they are not traders, but were instead spies. As a result, he (Ebrima Bojang) was sent to the border to track down those people."

Lt. Jallow went on, "I used that opportunity and told Ebrima Bojang that we soldiers are under oath, and we have to maintain our allegiance, unflinching, absolute and total loyalty to the President.

"I told him that we in Farafenni Barracks will do everything possible, and at all cost, to defend the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of this country."

"I told Ebrima Bojang that, as long as I am the commanding officer of Farafenni Barracks, I will not tolerate any disloyal person to infiltrate my barracks." Then I told Ebrima Bojang 'Good night!'."

He testified that, "I gave him a room in my house to sleep, locked all my doors, and went to my house with my keys." "In my house, I kept thinking and pondering about the story Ebrima Bojang told me. I said to myself, the solution to this is to tackle it professionally. It is to make verification and clarification, as a mean of discovering the truth."

He told the court that on the following day, that is, 19th November 2009. "I woke up earlier than usual in the morning, and left Ebrima Bojang in my house. I went to the office and first called Major Kuluteh Manneh. Because there was where the first called emanated from, I asked Kuluteh whether he knows Ebrima Bojang very well."

He Kuluteh told me "I do not know him very well, but I can remember seeing him once."

PW9 said: "I told Kuluteh that I did not believe much in his stories, since anybody can come from nowhere and tell me that he is from the President's Office."

For security reasons, he told the court, "I warned Kuluteh that I will do my verifications."

It was at that time, he said, "I called the Army Chief of Staff, and revealed the story of Ebrima Bojang to him. I further asked him (the Army Chief of Staff) to called CDS Massaneh Kinteh and the Deputy CDS Drammeh or the State House Commander to find out whether Ebrima Bojang is from State House. As a result, the Army Chief of Staff asked me to wait, that he will get back to me."

After a while, PW9 testified, "the Army Chief of Staff called me, and told me he cannot reach the deputy CDS, but he promised to continue trying him."

In the interim, said PW9, "I went back to my house, met the said Ebrima Bojang, and told him that 'if you are ready taking bath, am at my office'."

"As I was waiting for the verification, the State Guard Commander, Lamin Bojang, and one Solo Bojang, called me, and asked what happened. I told him the whole story Ebrima Bojang narrated to me. They told me to wait, let them find out whether they have any Ebrima Bojang among their personnel.

At this time, "I got back to Ebrima Bojang and smartly told him that if he is going to the border for duty, and at the border when you are to perform duty, you must possess your intelligence card."PW9 testified, "I asked him - do you have you ID card with you?

He said 'Yes'." According to Lt. Colonel Jallow "in my attempts just to identify him, I tactically told him that I have never seen an NIA ID card. I told him you don't have your NIA ID card, but as a Gambian you are bound to have a Gambian ID card. But Ebrima Bojang said he had none."

PW9 then said Ebrima Bojang pretended to be calling a friend, so that his friend could bring his card. "Ebrima Bojang told me (PW9) that somebody will bring the card" "I responded OK."

PW9 explained that "at this moment, I became more suspicious about him, and took him to another office and asked my orderly to keep constant watch on the said Ebrima Bojang."

It was at this stage, he added, that "I called the Army Chief of Staff, I told him that the boy is in fact without an ID card." PW9 testified that then the Army Chief of Staff "told me to call the deputy CDS, which I did, but could not reach him. I went back to the other office." Then I saw Ebrima Bojang making a call, but did not know to whom he was speaking."

PW9 further informed the court that "I called CDS Massaneh Kinteh, and told him about Ebrima Bojang and CDS asked me to give the phone to Ebrima Bojang, and later asked me to keep Ebrima Bojang until he produced an ID card." He said "after this telephone conversation, the State Guard Commander called me and told me that there is no person among his personnel that bears the name Ebrima Bojang, and that he was not on any presidential mission."

Lt. Colonel Jallow then told the court: "I went to the office, and arrested Ebrima Bojang. I handed him over to my military intelligence and security operatives for questioning and interrogating him as to why he came to Farafenni Barracks."

When Ebrima Bojang was interrogated, PW9 added, "he (Bojang) said he was sent to go and check the security preparedness, and how he Lt. Colonel Yerro deploys his soldiers. And that one Gassama and two other Senegalese are to come to the border and he (Bojang) is to collect them from the border."

PW9 told the court: "We decided to take him to the border, to see whether the aforementioned people by Ebrima Bojang will come, but they never came. It was at this time that I went back with Ebrima Bojang to the barracks to do further investigation."

It was at this time, PW9 said, that he (Bojang) confessed that he had been sent by ex-IGP Ensa Badgie, the DG NID Numo Kujabi, the current CDS Massaneh Kinteh, the deputy CDS Yankuba Drammeh, the then CMC and the current IGP Yankuba Sonko."

PW9 further testified: "I asked them to take Ebrima Bojang to the border, whether they will see the said Gassama and the two Senegalese, but to no avail. Then I asked them to come back."

According to Lt. Colonel Jallow, Ebrima Bojang was to meet the two Senegalese and the said Gassama in order for them to link up with Kukoi Samba Sanyang so that the aforementioned people can communicate with Kukoi for the alleged plot.

"When they came back, I called deputy CDS Yankuba Drammeh and told him that Ebrima is still with me, and sought his advice. Deputy CDS Drammeh then told me to hand Ebrima to the police, but I suggested to him that, 'Sir, let us hand him to the NIA, and deputy CDS then agreed. I then handed him (Ebrima Bojang) to the OC of NIA in Farafenni one Manneh." "I gave him military escort to drive Ebrima Bojang to the NIA headquarters."

This particular witness was not cross-examined by any of the defence counsel for the eight accused persons.