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Trial of NDEA officers opens

Jun 23, 2011, 1:13 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

The trial for alleged murder involving Eku Grant and Ebou Lowe, both officers of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA), yesterday commenced at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul before Justice Joseph Ikpala.

The two officers were alleged to have beaten one Cherno Alieu Suwareh of Bakau, leading to his death.

Testifying for the prosecution, Matarr Conteh, a narcotics officer, told the court that he knew both accused persons in the case.

“On 25 March 2011, the NDEA officers embarked on a raiding exercise at Bakau Sanchaba, and the two accused persons were part of the raiding team,” he added.

He said that upon arrival at the compound of the deceased person, they found the gate locked and a boy who was standing near the deceased asked him to open the gate for the NDEA officers.

“We introduced ourselves to the deceased person; that we are NDEA officers and our mission was to conduct a search. The deceased complied and took us to his house,” he continued, adding that the house is a room and parlour.

He said that he (the witness) was searching the bedroom, while the 1st accused person was searching the parlour.

“Later a scuffle erupted between the 1st accused and the deceased, and the 1st accused held on to the dreadlocks of the deceased and smashed his face against the wall,” the witness stated.

The witness revealed that the deceased sustained a bruise on his forehead, and some suspected cannabis was eventually recovered as evidence.

“The 1st accused pulled out a rubber baton and struck the deceased on his shoulder and on his sides,” he added.

“After I realised that the deceased was seriously sick and was hospitalised at the RVTH in Banjul, I was instructed to look after the deceased for 24 hours,” he further told the court.

The witness said when he was on off from duty, one Yaya Jatta called his station officer and notified him that the deceased had passed away, adding that his station officer instructed him to go and confirm the claim, which he did.

But the family members declined to conduct a post-mortem, but a death certificate was issued, he continued.

The case at that juncture was adjourned until 4 July 2011.