Kumba Sinyan Testifies in Her Murder Trial

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By Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)

Kumba Sinyan, a Gambian lady accused of killing her boyfriend, Lamarana Jallow, in what could be best described as gruesome murder, commenced giving evidence in her murder trial. She allegedly killed the boyfriend using a razor blade at the Friendship Hostel. She is currently at the Women’s Remand Wing of Mile 2.

Kumba is charged with murder. She denied the charge. The prosecution had called all their witnesses, and it was the turn of Kumba to testify. Her lawyer, Sagarr Twum, informed the court that Kumba had mental issues and was not fit to testify in the case. A medical examination was conducted on her and it was confirmed that she has no history of mental health. The medical report from the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital indicated that she was fit to testify before the court.

27-year-old Kumba began her testimony on the 26th of June 2024. She said she was born in Tallinding and grew up in Bakau with her grandmother, Mam TutiJeng. She testified that both of her parents Yusupha Sinyan, a native of Banjul, and Mainuna Sowe, a native of Ziguinchor in Senegal are late. She said her father passed away in 2004 and her mother died in 2011.

She said she attended Ndows Nursery and Primary School before transferring to the Bakau New Town Primary School.

“Can you tell us what you encountered at your Uncle’s residence that had an impact on your life?” Counsel SagarrTwum asked Kumba. 

“I was the one doing domestic work there. I am the one who used to sweep, cook, and do the laundry,” Kumba answered.

“What else happened to you there, take your time and explain?” Lawyer Twum asked.

“At my Uncle’s place, I faced physical and sexual abuse,”  Kumba Sinyan said while crying. 

“What was the nature of the sexual abuse, and how did it happen?” Counsel Twum asked.

Kumba stated that she used to live with her uncle in Zinguinchor, Senegal. Kumba said she used to live with her cousins. She added that four (4) people used to sleep in the same bedroom. She added that her uncle used to wake them up for prayers. She testified that her uncle came one day and woke her up alone while leaving her cousins sleeping in bed. She said he held her hand and they took her to the boys’ quarters.

“What exactly did your uncle do to you?” Lawyer Twum asked.

“He ‘raped’ me. I was a virgin at the time,” Kumba said.

“How did he rape you?” Twum asked.

The witness said she wore a gown with no undergarments because it was during the hot season. She explained that her uncle held her mouth and had sex with her. She said she tried to escape but her uncle was stronger than her. 

“You were 16 years old. Were you a virgin at that time?” Counsel Sagarr asked.

“Yes I was a virgin,” she said.

She said she felt a lot of pain because, after the sexual intercourse, she was unable to walk and had bruises. She added that she was bleeding. She testified that her uncle threatened to kill her if she disclosed their encounter.

She testified that she could not sleep as she was weeping and when it was time to pray the morning prayers, her Uncle woke them up and led them in prayers. She testified that her uncle further threatened her when her aunt informed him that she was complaining of stomach pain.

She said a week later, her uncle tried to take her to have sex with him, but she refused. She explained that one day her uncle punished her for using a fan belt because she had a dispute with her daughter. She said while beating her, her uncle was telling her in a low tone why she refused to have sex with him. She added that she planned her escape and left Senegal for the Gambia. She stated that she sold her bangle for 5,000 CFA and was given another 5,000 CFA by one Saul, a tailor.

She testified that she stayed in Banjul with her uncle Pa Sinyan, who later took her to her grandmother. She said her uncle in Zinguinchor denied her access to communication with her relatives.

When asked about the impact of her encounter with her uncle, she said it affected her because she had no one to talk to, and made her prefer being alone.

She said she worked for Africell for 2 months to give out free SIM cards. She added that she joined several tailoring shops. She also worked for Forward Communication, Paradise FM, and Elite Fitness Gym. She said she established her own business called Tutu Lingerie which focuses on catering.

She said she met her late boyfriend Momodou Lamarana Jallow during the process of trying to get cards for the GCCI Trade Fair around 2018 and 2019.

“Who was Momodou Lamarana Jallow?” Counsel Twum asked. 

“He was the one that I was having a relationship with, but that was the first time I met him. It was in 2019. We became friends first before we got into a romantic relationship. We were friends for 2 years.  He asked me out and then we dated in 2020,” Kumba said.

“Did you have other relationships before you met Lamarana?” Counsel Twum asked. 

“Yes, I was in love with someone else. We were together and his name was Mass Mbye. He didn’t have any issues. He is in England,” Kumba said.

“Tell the court the type of person you are. What is your personality,” Counsel Twum told Kumba.

“I am a humble and down to earth. I like cracking jokes with people,” Kumba said.

“Have you had any history of violence in your life?” Twum asked.

“No, I don’t have any,” Kumba said. 

She testified that she had never been arrested before this incident.

“How was your relationship with Lama when it first started?” Counsel Twum asked.

“It was normal with no problems,” Kumba said.

Kumba said she was an age mate with Lama.

“Did you know what his role was at GCCI, where he stayed, and with who?” Lawyer Twum asked. 

“His role at GCCI, according to what he told me at their IT department, was the one doing marketing for them. He stayed at Brusubi by the police station with his aunty Sally and his roommate Alagie Sonko,” Kumba said.

Kumba said she used to meet Lamarana at his house or sometimes at a restaurant. She added that in the beginning, the relationship was fine but after a while, they began having misunderstandings, including the lack of trust. 

“Why didn’t you trust him?” Counsel Twum asked.

“It was because what he told me and what I saw were different. Before, we used to share phone passwords. I had access to his phone and laptop. I used to go through his phone and he did the same as well to my phone. There were messages I normally saw but if I asked him he wouldn’t tell me the truth,” Kumba said.

“What kind of messages?” Twum asked.

“I saw romantic messages between him and other women. So, I felt like he was having something to hide. Hence, I concluded that he was having another affair with other girls. This happened on numerous occasions and any message that I saw I asked him, he would deny,” Kumba said.

“In your opinion, was Lamarana a truthful person?” Counsel Twum asked.

“In the beginning, he was a truthful person but in the latter part, he was not. He was misbehaving as he played with my emotions because he knew that I loved him,” Kumba said.

“How did he treat you?” Lawyer Twum asked. 

“When he knew that I loved him, he was doing whatever he felt like doing. He had a lack of trust towards me as he would normally come to my place without informing me even when we were on the phone talking he would show up just to see whether I was home,” she said.

The witness said the late Lamarana suspected her of having an affair with one Ebrima Njie. She added that Ebrima Njie informed her that Lamarana threatened him and warned him to stay away from her.

Kumba said she informed Lamarana of her victimisation that happened in Zinguinchor, Senegal by her uncle and he was using that against her.

“At times, he would send me nude pictures of other people with emojis hiding their faces. He would tell me that ‘this is you I would send it to your friends and family members’. He was a completely different person as he thought that I was cheating on him.  He was the only one that I told about what happened in Ziguinchor because of the trust I had in him. He used foul language against me when we had issues. He would normally tell me that ‘I don’t blame you that is why you had a sexual relationship with your uncle’,” she said.

“Around May June 2021. Can you tell the court what happened? Lawyer Twum asked.

“This was during the trade fair period. We normally have sex without protection. After my last period, I didn’t see my period so I told him that this month I have not seen my period. I went to the pharmacy at Bakau and brought 2 pregnancy test kits. When I got home I used one and it was positive, which showed that I was pregnant. Then I called and explained to him but he didn’t believe me. I took a picture of the test but he still didn’t believe me. I went to his house with the 2 test kits used the remaining one in the toilet and showed him that it was positive. I went home but he told me that he wanted us to meet and talk. I told him that I was ready to maintain the pregnancy because of the love I had for him. He used to tell me that he didn’t want to have a child at that time,” Kumba said.

Kumba said during her first problem with Lamarana, she came to know that she was dating a girl called Fatou Colley based on the messages. She added that Fatou Colley informed Lamarana in the text messages that she had aborted her pregnancy.

She said she agreed with Lamaran to marry while she was pregnant and after her delivery, she can divorce and re-marry again. She added that this was agreed in Lama’s house. She stated that Lamarana wanted her to abort the pregnancy, but she insisted that she was ready to keep it. She testified that while she relaxed, Lama jumped on her demanding to have sex with her, but she informed him that she was tired.

“He started using force, I refused and this was when he started slapping me,” she said.

Kumba said Lama was the second man she had sex with in her life after her uncle, who allegedly raped her.

“After Lama slapped me, he tried to remove my pants as I was wearing a three-quarter short. He held my neck and then started punching my face. I was lying on the chair, and he was on top of me. I told him ‘Lama don’t you pity me, I am tired’. After I told him to wait let me get up and undress, when I got up there was a coffee cup when I was trying to get up my leg kicked the coffee cup and it broke. When I got up I arranged my clothes with my wig all messed up. I told him don’t you pity me. He started punching me numerous times on my stomach while I was pregnant. And his roommate Alagie came in because I was screaming. Alagie told Lama in Mandinka to leave me alone. By the window, Sally, Lama’s aunty was standing by the window with Bai Faal. The room was locked. Lama refused to leave me. They were telling him to leave me. Then Alhagie opened the door and tried to separate us. 

The case was adjourned to the 4th of July from 12 pm to 2 pm, the 5th of July from 10 am to 12 pm, the 9th of July from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm, the 15th of July from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm and 17th of July from 10 am to 12 pm.