By Yankuba Jallow
Modou Ngum of the United Democratic Party, gave testimony as the eighteenth prosecution witness (PW18) at yesterday’s hearing of the NIA 9 trial at the Banjul High Court. Ngum told the Court that at the time of his arrest during the UDP demonstration at Westfield, he was seriously beaten together with his colleagues, by the Police.
When the case was called before the presiding judge, Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara, Ngum in his evidence said they embarked on a demonstration on April 14, following a call by their leader Solo Sandeng, that they should meet at Bambo in Serrekunda, where the demonstration will start.
“Solo advised us not to go with stick or stones and we were 28,” he said; that whilst at Westfield, they stood as a group, facing NAWEC and chanting ‘‘we want changes in the electoral system’’; that PIU officers came alongside plain clothe officers and other members of the Gambia Police Force; that when they arrived, they didn’t talk to anyone but instead started beating them; that he was the first to be arrested; that he was beaten seriously without mercy; that all 28 demonstrators were thrown in a waiting truck and transported to the PIU headquarters in Kanifing, where they were instructed to sit on the floor.
“They took away our cell phones and thereafter, security Chiefs arrived. The security chiefs were the Former IGP, Yankuba Sonko, former NIA Director Yankuba Badjie, former Operations Commander of the NIA Sheikh Omar Jeng, Lamin Beyai, former Commissioner of Police for KMC Modou Sowe and Commissioner Sanneh as well as former Mayor of KMC, Yankuba Colley,” he said. Ngum indicated that five among them were identified and separated from the rest.
“Modou Ngom, Solo Sandeng, Nogoi Njie, Ebrima Jabang and Kafu Bayo were identified out of the 28 and put into 3 pickups in chains. Solo Sandeng was put in a pickup, Modou Ngom and Ngoi Njie were put in one pickup and Ebrima Jabbang and Kafu Bayo, in another pickup,” he told the Court.
“I was identified to Yankuba Badjie who said he needed five of us in his office,” he said.
The witness narrated that before they reach NIA Offices in Banjul, he heard Sheikh Omar Jeng, the Operations Commander, making a call and instructing for the central gate of NIA to be opened; that at the time they arrive, they were paraded and their photos taken, one after the other.
“After taking our photos, the chains were removed and we were then escorted to a room, where we were asked to hand over our belongings. Our finger prints were taken after which, Nogoi Njie and Solo Sandeng were taken from us presumably for questioning. Whilst in the hall, we heard Solo Sandeng crying and saying at the top of his voice: ‘you are killing me’. We heard Nogoi Njie also saying the same words ath the top of her voice too,’’ the PW18 Ngum, said.
Further testifying before the Court, Ngum said Solo Sandeng was in a very bad condition and his body was bleeding through to his arms and the legs; that his forehead was swollen; that a little later, Nogoi Njie was brought in and that she was also in a very bad shape; that there was blood all over her body and she looked very tired.”
At this juncture, the case was adjourned to Tuesday June 12th 2018.