Fakebba Colley’s Family Vow to Fight for Justice over his Death in Police custody

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By Nelson Manneh

Family members of the late Fakebba Colley have told Foroyaa that they will fight to ensure justice is served on them. They say they are patiently waiting for the outcome of the autopsy report to know the cause of death of their loved one.

They believe that the Police are responsible for the untimely death of their loved one. These remarks were made while he was laid to rest at the Bundung Borehole cemetery on Friday 12th August 2022.

Foroyaa was reliably informed that the late Fakebba Colley who lived in Bundung, died whilst in detention at Sukuta Police Station. He died living behind his wife and six children.

“Our brother, left his house on Saturday 7th August 2022, to report at the Sukuta Police Station. He was detained there and was put in a cell where he died. They handed his corpse to us for burial without coming to sympathize with us which shows that they do not care about the death of our brother. We will never let go until the truth about his death is established,” the family declared.

According to the family, Colley and his wife went to report a theft case at the Sukuta police station and was detained as he was suspected by the police.

Sanna Jatta said when his late brother left the house to lodge a complaint at the police station, he was healthy and had never complained of having any existing complications.

“He went to the station and after giving his statement, the police decided to arrest him and throw him in a cell. The wife was denied to see her husband whilst he was detained there,” he said.

Jatta alleged that his late brother died at the police station before he was even taken to Sukuta Health Centre.

“When we were informed about the death of our brother, we went to the station and we were told (by the police) that a postmortem test will be carried out before the body will be handed over to us for burial,” he said.

Jatta said up to the day of the burial, the police did not inform them of the results of the postmortem.

“We want to know whether our brother was tortured to death or whether he died naturally,” he said. He said his brother was handed over to them without any information surrounding his death.

“What saddens us is that the police did not turn out on the day of the burial to sympathize with us. In fact, it seems like the death of our brother is nothing to them. If they were concerned, they would have come and sympathized with us but they deliberately refused to surface,” he said.

Malick Colley, the elder brother of the deceased, said he was with his late younger brother two days before his untimely death.

“He never complained of being sick or having any complications. The police know best what killed my brother and we will never let go,” he said.

Colley quizzed why his brother was arrested and detained when he went to lodge a complaint. He said the police did not stop from arresting him, but they threw him in a cell as if he was a criminal.

“It is not rational for someone to be thrown in a cell without any accusation. … Why should they arrest my brother in the first place because he is not an accused person? In fact, he was the complainant. We will do all we can in order to establish the truth. The police must explain to us what transpired between them and my late brother. They will never walk freely, because the truth must be established,” he said.

When contacted, Lawyer Emmanuel Daniel Joof, the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, said his institution is aware of the case and that one of its investigators has started the investigation process.

The spokesperson of the Gambia Police Force was also contacted in order to explain their side of the story to no avail.

Foroyaa will continue to follow up on the issue and will get the Police version of the incident.  

Meanwhile, Landing Camara, the Officer-in-Charge of Sukuta Health Centre, told Foroyaa that, “he (Fakebba Colley) was brought to the Sukuta Health Centre when he was already dead; that this was 10 minutes before 1 am on the 6th August 2022. He said all the vital signs examined on him were nil; that he was not breathing and his blood pressure was taken without any sign of life.

The health centre’s record diary indicates that Colley’s lifeless body was brought into the health centre on Saturday, 6th August 2022, just 10 minutes before 1 am.