Soriba admits lying against Ensa Badjie at court

Jun 12, 2020, 11:55 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

Soriba Condeh, a prisoner at Mile 2 (state central prison) yesterday apologised to Ensa Badjie for lying against him in a court of law. He also aplogised to other Gambians he had offended.

Giving evidence before the TRRC, the witness adduced that several people died at Mile 2 as a result of torture and bad food.

He said the food served at the prison is still very bad and the prisoners could not eat it. 

"Even yesterday I was not able to eat and in the morning, Yusupha Conteh asked whether I would eat the reserve food, but I told him to throw it. The food is still not good."

He further stated that before 2017, the quality of the food was not good but it’s now better, adding that the food that is served at Janjanburreh is far better than the one served at Mile 2. 

He testified that there was a time that Deputy Director Yahya Jarjue instructed that prisoners – a comment he said designed to stop their (prisoners’) enjoyment. He alleged that Jarjue was wick than chief torturer Ebrima Jammeh.

About beriberi, a sickness that attacked prisoners, the witness said it was caused by bad food and staying too long at one place. 

"The pap food used to be prepared the day before we consume it. They used to take one cooking pot of pap food and add liquid to make it two pots. One of the signs of beriberi is swollen legs,” he said, adding that beriberi can be easily identified but most of them died as a result of authorities’ failure to take prisoners to the hospital.

The witness narrated that one Mbenba Gassama, a prisoner once complained of his stomach, but when matter was reported to one officer in charge, he denied that, saying Gassama was lying but after an hour, Gassama died.

"Modou Njie, a prisoner was also having breathing difficulties because he was an asthma patient, fell down but the authorities alleged that Njie was pretending. He eventually died."

He told the commission that the prison officers were happy when someone died because it is a minus for them. According to him, a prison officer would say it was better his/her child died than for a prisoner to escape.

Testifying on the death of Ebima Sanyang, a teacher, Condeh indicated that Sanyang was not well and when he initially came to the prison, he was alleged to have slaughtered one Guinean and was transferred for confinement where he committed another murder.

He said Ebrima was a violent prisoner and he was later put in a shackle for two years. He added that there were other soldiers who were also in shackles for two years.

Explaining the death of Mamadi Manneh, the witness said Manneh was a teacher from Brikama and he was not mentally stable. 

"One day, he caught beriberi and the officers were called to take him to the hospital. Officer Jallow escorted him and when they reached the road, he wanted to sit and the officers thought he wanted to pick a stone and throw on them. The officers beat him seriously and took him back to his cell. In his cell, he was continuously shouting without the help of the officers till he died."

He alleged that Alfusainey Bah and Denish died due to negligence of the prison officers.  

In his 13-year jail term at Mile 2, the witness said he never saw an investigation conducted over prisoners' death.

He added that a prisoner called Malang Sonko was beaten until he became handicapped.

"My first beating was vision 2016. I was in confinement, where they said cannabis was found with Lamin Jah. I was taken to one man cell and Fadera came and covered my face and took me to headquarters. I was told there that I gave the cannabis to Lamin Jah and then I was stretched on the table and beaten till I urinated."

He explained that he was beaten for the second time at Ebrima Jammeh's office, while adding that he even wanted to kill himself because it was better to die than to live in that horrible time.

About the detention of Baba Jobe, he said Jobe was his friend and he used to help him because he refused to eat the prison food, thinking they wanted to kill him.