Apr 16, 2012, 1:34 PM
Sub-Inspector Samba Bah, a PIU officer, yesterday testified as the second prosecution witness (PW2) in the criminal trial involving 14 supporters of the United Democratic Party (UDP) before Justice O. Ottaba of the Special Criminal Court in Banjul.
The accused persons are Bakary Jammeh, Kaddy Samateh, Lele Bojang, Alkali Sanneh, Yaya Fatty, Muhammed Singhateh, Kemo Touray, Bakary Marong, Buba Mass, Alagie Saidykhan, Tombong Njie, Modou Sarr, Sheriff Suma, and Lamin Dampha
They are being tried on seven-count of conspiracy to commit felony, unlawful assembly, and riot, incitement of violence, interfering with vehicles, holding a procession without a permit and disobeying an order to disperse.
When the case was called, state counsel A. Yakubu and B. Jaiteh appeared for the state, whilst the defendants were represented by H.S. Sabally, B.S. Touray, Y. Senghore, C. Gaye and A. Njie.
Testifying in court, Samba Bah said he knew he was in court to give evidence in respect of the accused persons.
“I knew the accused persons. I was ordered to arrest them and take them to Kanifing PIU,” he said.
Asked by counsel to recall what happened on 9 May 2016, the witness said on 9 May 2016 around 16:08 hours, they were informed by their officer commanding, Superintendent Saine, that there were a group of people blocking the Banjul-Serrekunda Highway going towards Westfield.
“We were organised in platoons to go and disperse them. When we departed from the barracks, we met with this group of people at the ICEman Junction, blocking the traffic, shouting and insulting,” he said.
He added: “Our officer commanding, Superintendent Saine, stopped us and approached them with a few officers. He advised them to disperse and go on with their lawful business. They did not even listen to him. They continued their shouting, and insulting and they attracted the attention of the passers-by in an arrogant and disorderly manner.
“The OC later told them that if they didn’t stop they will be arrested for what they were doing,” he said, adding that they did continue with the process.
“We later got the order from our commanding officer, Superintendent Saine, to effect arrest on them and take them to Kanifing PIU for further police action. We arrested them and took them to Kanifing PIU,” he told the court.
Under cross-examination, defence counsel B.S. Touray asked the witness: “How many people did he personally arrest?”
“Collectively, these are the people we arrested. The PIU does not work individually. We do not work individually. We are in platoons and sections.”
“So personally you did not arrest anyone?”
“I collectively with my group arrested these people.”
“Can you tell the court the names of any member of the groups that you arrested with your colleagues?”
“I don’t know their names.”
“Can you tell this court how many people were arrested?”
“I don’t know how many people.”
“Then how do you arrest a person. Can you tell us?”
“I arrest somebody by telling the individual to identify yourself, and telling him the reason of arrest.”
“Do you need somebody’s assistance in repeating these words to a person?”
“No, we don’t.”
“What is the strength of a platoon at PIU?”
“30 persons minimum and 33 persons maximum.”
“How about the section?”
“12 or 10 persons.”
“How many platoons were deployed at the scene?”
“Is it correct that in military beats each platoon is headed by a commander?”
“I don’t know of military, I know of PIU.”
“Is the PIU not regimented on the lines of the military?”
“No, the PIU is under the police.”
“The PIU, I know is part of the Gambia Police Force, but for the purpose of their operation, are they not regimented on the lines of the military?”
“Now do you have platoons in the police force?”
“Who led the two platoons?”
Hearing continues today at 4pm.