Witness narrates horrible days in police custody, Mile 2

Nov 11, 2020, 10:15 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

Mumina Baldeh, an Abuko resident yesterday testified before the TRRC, narrating the “horrible things” that happened to him at the Kotu Police Station, NIA Headquarters and Mile 2 (the state central prison). 

Born in Senegal, Baldeh, a food vendor, explained that in 2007, he bought palm oil from Guinea and sold it in The Gambia. He added that on the 6th May 2007, it was a Saturday and it was a national cleansing exercise that a man called Musa Kinteh came to his house claiming he was from the NIA. He narrated that four men came with three wearing black masks and recalled that his wife was pregnant at the time.

"I was taken to Banjul police headquarters before taken to NIA; and on the way they spoke with Edrisa Jobe alias Alhagie Morr. They later took me to Kotu Police Station, where I was locked in a cell after confiscating 1700 dalasis from me. Still at this point, I didn't even know the reason why I was arrested and I spent two days there before taken back to NIA Headquarters."

Baldeh recalled that Musa Kinteh took him to a room where he met Lamin Sanyang, Buba Badjie, Bubacarr Jallow, Lamin Darboe, Samba Gajaga and Edrisa Jobe, who interrogated him. 

The witness told the commission that Musa Kinteh asked whether he knew Assan Baan, but he replied in the negative. He said that was the time Edrisa Jobe hit him on his face and Samba Gajaga joined him in hitting him. 

"Edrisa asked Lamin Darboe to bring some basalt stones and he asked me to take off both my shirt and trouser. I was asked to kneel down on the stones and NIA officer, Lamin Darboe hit me with electrical wire. I was later asked whether I didn’t any business with a Jola man and I replied in the positive and said to them that his name was Lamin Jammeh.

"They asked how I got to know him and I told them his wife was my business partner because I used to sell palm oil to her. One day she lend me a barrel of palm oil and I refused because it cost 6, 000 dalasis. I told her I cannot lend her the oil without the presence of her husband. She later came with the husband Lamin Jammeh who advanced 2, 000 dalasis and I gave them the oil." 

He continued that they later called Lamin Jammeh, alias Assan Baan, and asked whether he knew him and he replied in the positive. But he, (Jammeh) however, asked them not to arrest him (witness) because he knew nothing about the matter. 

Witness stated that he was to be released after gathering those information but they later told him that the order from the big man was not to release him because he is a foreigner and would narrate what had happened.

"I was illegally locked up at the Security Wing in Mile 2. Musa Kinteh collected D70, 000 from my wife to facilitate my release but it was impossible."

He said he was never charged with any offence and after two years, in 2009, the NIA officers took the Mile 2 detainees out and took them to Brikama Magistrate Court, where they were all charged with terrorism but they pleaded not guilty.

He added that they were taken back to Mile 2 and a month later, he was taken to High Court for trial –which lasted two years before being finally acquitted and discharged.