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NIA officers trial continues

May 12, 2011, 2:47 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

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

Lamin Daboe, senior NIA officer, Ebrima Drammeh alias Jim, the then Director of operations at the NIA, Edrissa Jobe alias Alhagie Morr, the then head of a special unit at the NIA and Omar Jammeh alias Boy Boots, former officer commanding NIA in the West Coast Region, were being tried on charges of assault causing actual grievous bodily harm, causing injures and common assault.

Continuing his testimony under cross-examination, Sgt Lamin Sima told the court that he found two people with handcuffs, and later knew at the Brikama Police Station that they are Tijan Ndure, the first prosecution witness, and Karamo Jammeh.

When asked by defence counsel Abdoulie Sissoho whether it was correct, as a security officer, to use force when effecting an arrest, the witness in reply told the court that this was sometimes necessary, but in this case it was not necessary to use force after producing his warrant card.

He added that he was about to approach Omar Jammeh, (alias Boy Boots) for the second time to inspect the nylon bag, when the first accused, Lamin Darboe, produced a gun and opened fire, saying that anybody who touched the black nylon bags would be shot .

When the defence counsel further put it to him that, as a narcotics officer whose senior officers had already effected an arrest, there was no need to intervene, Sima said that they should comply, adding that the laws of the Gambia empower him to intervene in any drugs-related matters at any given time and, more so, within his area of jurisdiction.

He further told the court that the third and fourth accused persons did not meet him at Brikama Police, but instead he was the one who met them at the station.

“I was surprised when I was called by Ebrima Drammeh to go and give my witness statement. Upon my arrival, I was asked to write my own statement, which I did and I handed it to one Lamin Manneh, who tore my statement in front of me,” he added.

He said that Lamin Manneh then called Edrissa Jobe alias Alhagie Morr, the former head of the special unit at the NIA, informing him that this boy did not want to comply with them.

Still testifying under cross-examination, Sima told the court that “the accused persons asked me to rewrite my statement, and I wrote exactly what they wanted me to write. After writing my second statement, I handed it to Sukuta Jammeh.”

He said the accused person then starting beating him very seriously, on the grounds that he failed to write what they wanted him to write.

When asked whether he indicated in his statement that he was tortured by the accused persons, Sima said, “Yes.”

When further put to him by defence counsel that he was once charged with a drug-related matter at the High Court in Banjul, the witness confirmed this.

Asked whether after the alleged event he lodged a complaint with any security service in The Gambia, Sima said, “No”, but added that he reported to his personal lawyer.

“On 15th October 2010, I was invited to the NDEA main office in Holgam in Pipeline in connection with the case,” he said.

He told the court that he was seriously tortured by the accused persons, during his detention.

He said that when the accused persons met him at the Brikama Police Station, they refused to hand over the nylon.

The case was at that stage adjourned till 18th May 2011.