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In Efry Mbye, Rongo criminal trial, Banjulinding Imam testifies

Mar 8, 2011, 1:28 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Yahya Bah, the imam of Banjullinding village, yesterday testified in the criminal trial involving Momodou Jarju (alias Rongo) and Abdoulie Mbye (alias Efry Mbye) at the Banjul Magistrates' Court before acting-Principal Magistrate Alagba.

The duo are being tried on charges of giving false information to a public officer, making false documents, uttering false documents and for conduct conducive to a breach of peace.

Testifying as the second prosecution witnesses, Yahya Bah, a resident of Banjulnding village, told the court that he is the imam of Banjulnding Central Mosque, and that he recognised the accused persons.

Imam Bah further told the court that, in 2010, the accused persons wrote a letter to the Office of the President indicating that the alkalo, Eric Tundeh Janneh, was disuniting the people of Banjulnding and grabbing land in the West Coast Region.

He added that the said letter was sent to the Office of the President on behalf of the elders of Banjulnding, without the consent of the villagers.

Imam Bah further told the court that they were then called by Benedict Jammeh Executive Director of National Drugs Enforcement Agency, NDEA, who advised them to unite as one family and follow alkalo Eric Tundeh Janneh, and forget their differences.

"We all felt happy about the advice of Benedict Jammeh for us to be united and the alkalo called the whole villagers to a meeting at the bantaba to inform us what transpired at the Kanifing office. But after this meeting, the two accused persons wrote a letter together with one Malang Badjie addressed to the Secretary General Office of the President, on the pretext that the letter was written by the elders of Banjulinding," he added.

He said the contents of the letter indicated that the people of Banjulnding did not want the alkalo-ship of Eric Tundeh Janneh and, instead, the villagers like Foday Jabang to be an alkalo of Banjulnding.

Imam Bah added that when the council of elders of the village saw the letter, they realized that it was not from the alkalo.

He recognised the said letter, which was tendered and admitted for identification purposes.

The said letter, he added, was taken to the Executive Director of the NDEA, adding that both groups were called to the Kanifing office, and were advised to forget their differences.

He added that the NDEA's Director further told them there were two options, either they solve their differences or the law will take its course but there was no other alternative to settle the matter.

PW2 added: "We all later agreed to settle our differences, and even the 1st accused person’s father attended the said meetings."

He added that, during the meeting, a committee was selected to run the affairs of the village, of which the alkalo was selected as the chairman council of elders and he (the witness) adviser to the alkalo.

"The 1st accused felt very happy and shook hands with the alkalo, and said Eric is his father and the NDEA had advised us to forget our difference," Imam Bah told the court.

He said they all agreed, at the meeting, to monitor everything that transpired in Banjulinding, regarding the issues raised at the meeting.

"Few days later, two people came to my house and informed me about a meeting, but at this meeting, there was a letter which the accused persons read and said it was from the Office of the President," he further told the court.

"This letter caused chaos among us in Banjulinding," he added.

The said letter was also tendered and admitted in court for identification purposes.

The case was adjourned till 16th March 2011.