Computer Scientist Explains Arrest, Detention at NIA


By Yankuba Jallow

Lamin Bojang, a computer scientist on Thursday, 22nd October 2020 told the TRRC he was arrested and detained by security agents following a publication by the Freedom Newspaper in 2006.

The resident of Tujereng is an employee of Medical Research Council (MRC) working as the Data Manager and the head of the National Cancer Registry.

He said he used to read Freedom Newspaper a lot at his workplace and was a subscriber to their website.

Bojang’s arrest came following a publication on the Freedom Newspaper where the names of several people including the witness was mentioned as people who were providing information to the editor. The witness stated the article stated that Mba’I joined APRC.

“They published all the names of the subscribers including their telephone numbers, their email and whatever residential or work address the person must have provided. I knew it was hacking,” the witness said.

He said the names of five of his work colleagues at MRC were published. The witness is with the opinion that the website was hacked.

He said about four security personnel came to arrest him at his work place adding they were in mufti. He said this was in Farafenni, adding he was taken to Farafenni Police Station. He said upon arrival at the station, he found his two colleagues – Fakebba Ceesay and Yero Bah already behind the counter. He said after spending some hours at the station he was taken home where a search was conducted. He added that he was not told the reason for his arrest.

“They conducted search in my bedroom. I had a lot of books and they went through page by page. We spent about two hours doing the search,” the witness said.

He said after the search, they went back the station empty handed. The witness said after sometime, he was transferred to Police Headquarters in Banjul.

The witness said he was asked whether he knew Pa Nderry Mba’I, whether he has any form of communication with him and whether they have ever exchanged email in which he replied in the negative to all the questions. He detailed that after the interrogation, he was asked to write a statement and he was taken inside a cell without any formal charge. He said he spent the night without food.

He said in the morning, he was moved to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters together with his two colleagues. He said they were taken to the Investigation Department at the NIA. He said they found one Malick Mboob, Pa Modou Faal of GRTS, journalist Sam Obi, journalist Musa Sherriff, one Lamin Darboe of MRC, one Harry Joof of Gamtel, one Wurra Bah – an Internet Café operator and Baboucar Sanyang – a graphic designer who were detained together at the NIA. The witness said one Haddy Darboe of Gamtel was detained at the Conference Hall.

“I counted 27 of us in the cell, but it could be more than that,” the witness said.

“We were not informants to Freedom Newspaper. We were mere subscribers,” the witness added.

He was detained for four months nine days. He said he was with eleven people in the cell.

He said on the night of 26th May 2006 he was taken out of the cell and taken to the conference room. He found many people including security operatives. He said he recognized Lamin Cham from the Major Crime Unit, Malamin Ceesay the head of the Major Crime Unit and one Boto Keita, Lieutenant Musa Jammeh alias ‘Maliamongo’ , Warrant Officer Class 2 Nfally Jadama with the military intelligence at the State House, Deputy Director of NIA one Hydara.

He said the investigators asked him the same questions he was previously asked at the Police Headquarters. He gave the same reply. He said he was slapped by WO2 Nfally Jabang. He said a soldier called Malick Jatta alias Jiky of Tujereng shouted at him saying “LB it is better to say the truth or we will kill you.”

Read Foroyaa on Monday for more on Bojang’s testimony.