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Former senior NIA Officers' trial progresses

Apr 12, 2011, 1:29 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The trial of former senior officers of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) proceeded yesterday at the Banjul Magistrates' Court before acting-Principal Magistrate Alagba.

The accused persons are Lamin Darboe, senior NIA officer,Ebrima Drammeh alias Jim, the then Director of Operations NIA, Edrissa Jobe alias Alhagie Morr, the then head of the Special Unit at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Omar Jammeh, former officer commanding NIA in the West Coast Region.

They are being tried on charges of assault causing actual grievous bodily harm, causing injuries and common assault contrary to the laws of The Gambia.

Testifying as the third prosecution witness, Sgt Lamin Sima told the court that he is a narcotics officer attached to Brikama Police Station in the West Coast Region.

"In May 2009, at

Kenbujeh Brikama Highway
there were certain people who have been reportedly selling prohibited drugs around that area," he testified.

He added that upon receiving that information, he called the divisional commanding officer to inform him about the issue, who asked them to go ahead to do their findings.

"I informed Lamin Karbou about it and, upon our arrival, we met the fourth accused person, Omar Jammeh, alias Boy-boot, who was handling two nylon bags together with Lamin Darboe, the first accused," he added.

"I introduced myself to them as an NDEA officer, and Omar Jammeh beat my chest and told me this was not the show of NDEA, but instead the NIA, so let me go away," he said.

He added: "I was about to approached Omar Jammeh for the second time and the first accused, Lamin Darboe, produced a gun and open fire, and said anybody who touches the black nylon bags would be shot."

The witness said, from there, they boarded the NIA vehicle, together with Tijan Ndure, Abdoulie Sanneh and others to Brikama Police Station, and that he later informed his boss about it, who asked him to follow to them.

"At the Brikama Police Station, the accused persons still refused to hand over the nylon bags to us. I called my boss again, and told him about the matter, and he asked me to give the phone to Omar Jammeh to speak to him, but Omar refused to speak to my boss," the witness told the court.

Sima furher told the court that the accused persons left for Banjul, and that his boss asked him to take details of those arrested by the accused persons, which he did.

He added that during the course of taking their details, he met one Abdoulie Sanneh who told him that he used to make deals with the NIA officers, but this time around they betrayed him.

The prosecution's third witness further told the court that Omar Jammeh and Lamin Darboe arrived with one Victor Obi, a Nigerian, at the Brikama Police Station and that, a few minutes later, Ebrima Drammeh, Edrissa Jammeh and one Lamin Hydra collected the accused, Tijan Ndure and others to NIA headquarters in Banjul.

Still testifying the witness said: "In 2009, I received a phone called from Ebrima Drammeh, the then Director of Operations at the NIA, who asked me to report to the NIA office in Banjul in connection with the Brikama case; that they needed my statement."

"I told him that I cannot come, and Mr. Drammeh further told me that I am here with your boss, Bun Sanneh, and if you fail he would order your arrest," he further told the court.

"On my arrival in Banjul, I met the former Director NDEA, Bun Sanneh, Lamin Darboe, Ebrima Drammeh and Lamin Kabou alias Langka.

"Bun asked me to join them at the NIA office in Banjul," he continued.

Upon their arrival at the NIA office, he said Bun Sanneh asked him to wait at the waiting room together with his driver, Jerreh Cham.

"To my surprise, I saw Ebrima Drammeh and Edrissa Jobe pointing their fingers at Lamin Kabou, and saying that he was in custody and ran away. They said they have brought him back, and they started beating (Kabou) with an electric wire until he sustained serious injuries."

Sima added that Bun and former NIA Director BO Badjie both emerged, while they were still discussing, from inside the office, and that Bun started addressing Ebrima Drammeh and Edrissa Jobe, and later left for his office.

He added that after Bun Sanneh left, Edrissa Jobe and Ebrima Drammeh took him upstairs and started beating him until he sustained serious injuries, and then they were taken to a cell called Bambadinka and held there for 28 days.

The case was at this juncture adjourned till 20 April 2011 for the hearing to continue.