Saturday, December 9, 2023

IN THE NIA 9 CASE: Witness Explains How Solo Sandeng, Others Appeared During Interview


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By Yankuba Jallow

Mr. Kebba Secka, the current Director of Investigation at the National Intelligence Agency, on Wednesday the 31st day of January 2018, said at the time Solo Sandeng and others were brought to him and his boss for interview, they were all restless and breathing heavily.

Kebba Secka, the ninth prosecution witness in the criminal trial involving the nine former senior intelligence officers, said he is an Intelligence Officer working with the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and resides in Brikama; that on the 14th day of April 2016, whilst at his office at the NIA Headquarters in Banjul, his senior named Lamin Ceesay told him that there were suspects who were brought at the Conference Hall at the NIA headquarters he (the witness) was supposed to interview; that he was given ten questionnaires to ask the suspects (Solo Sandeng and others). He told the Court that he does not know the suspects prior to their arrests and does not know what they were suspected of doing.

On how the interview was conducted, the witness said they (he and Lamin Ceesay) interviewed the suspects one after the other; that they did the interrogation whilst the rest of people were in the hall. He mentioned their names as Mola Njie, Pa Sering Mboob, Samba Sowe (the officer commanding), Assan Badjie (the cameraman) and Babou Njie (Director of Investigation). He said later some people were going in and out of the Hall including the former Director and the Director of Operations of the NIA.

“Nogoi was sweating, breathing heavily and one of her thumbs was bleeding.” the witness said. “Solo Sandeng was also sweating and breathing heavily. He demanded for water and his head was swollen”, the witness said. “Fatou Camara was also breathing heavily and sweating. She looked so tired that she cannot even talk”, the witness testified. “Fatoumata Jawara was so tired when she came and she was helped to be seated properly by Buba Njie”, the witness said.

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When Fatoumata Jawara demanded for water, the witness said he was the one who told the people not to give her water until at a later time because she may collapse or die if she was given water. He said he did that because of the experience he got in the year 2007 in the hands of the NIA, when he was severely tortured; that during that time, he was denied water by one of the panellist because it may cause death or may lead to a person to faint. He said Fatoumata also breathed heavily and that she was unable to sit and speak to them; and that was how she appeared to them in the Hall.

The witness also said he cannot remember how Fatoumata Jawara came into the Hall and does not know what caused the swollen head of Solo Sandeng as well as that of Nogoi Njie. He told the Court that he does not have a copy of the questionnaire. “The former Director General (Yankuba Badjie) came at the time we were interviewing Solo Sandeng. I asked Solo [Sandeng] a question and I heard Yankuba Badjie repeating the same question at the door of the Hall”, the witness said. “I realised the presence of the former Director of Operation (Sheikh Omar Jeng) when Fatoumata Jawara was requesting for water. Sheikh told one of the persons in the Hall to help Fatoumata Jawara to sit properly because she was leaning”, the witness testified.

He said at the time of the interview of each of the accused persons, there was a video camera provided. About the questionnaires, the witness said he does not know who prepared it; that he could not remember the full sequence of the interview but told the court that he was certain it started with one Nogoi Njie; that he remembered the names of Solo Sandeng, Fatou Camara and Fatoumata Jawara.

He said the Interview Hall is located at the far left of the Agency (NIA).

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