Monday, January 25, 2021

TRRC Witness and Mother of 3 Narrates her Arrest, Detention at PIU Headquarters

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with Her Infant

By Nelson Manneh 

Kaddy Samateh, a married woman with three children, yesterday told the Truth Commission that she was arrested with her infant and detained at the Police Intervention Unit Headquarters in Kanifing in May 9th 2016.

Samateh who said she was born on the 22nd day of January1991 in Bakoteh, said prior to her arrest, her husband Modou Fatty (a UDP militant) was first arrested together with UDP leader Ousainou Darboe and others, during the 14th April 2016 protest; adding when her husband was arrested and arraigned before the Banjul High Court she used to attend the proceedings of the case. 

“On the 9th of May 2016 whilst at the High Court to attend the trial of my husband, we went to the Christian cemetery to find a vehicle to come back home after the case was adjourned,” she said; adding while they were struggling to find a vehicle, some paramilitary Officers came with a truck and forced them to enter inside it.

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Samateh said the Officers brought them up to Ice Man Junction in Kanifing Municipality and dropped them there; that whilst there, they saw other PIU Officers standing in front of them and they (PIU) fired tear gas on them. 

‘‘When they fired the tear gas on us, we decided to run and one of the paramilitary personnel grabbed me and beat me with a baton on my back. I fell down inside a gutter and two PIU officers jumped inside and continued to beat me,’’ she said. According to her, another paramilitary officer who knew her, saw her at a distance and came to her rescue by telling her to run. She said whilst she was running, another paramilitary officer stood in front of her, gripped her and threw her inside a truck. She testified she was beaten and insulted while she was inside the truck and was later taken to the PIU Headquarters in Kanifing. 

At the PIU headquarters, the witness said she was put inside a big hall where she met some of her group members; that the Officers took her to one NIA Officer Bintou Manga who obtained her statement. 

The witness said at the time of her arrest, she left her baby at home but when her family knew that she was arrested and detained at the PIU headquarters, they took her baby to her because she was very young, and the officers decided to arrest the baby as well and detained them together. 

She identified one Ousman Sonko as the Officer who said the baby should be detained together with her. 

At the PIU headquarters, the witness said they did not eat the food the Officers gave them because it was bad, adding the officers used to force them to do domestic work at the PIU headquarters. She testified that after spending five days at the PIU headquarters, they were arraigned at the Kanifing Magistrates Court and all their names were mentioned in Court including her infant baby Isha. 

She said they appeared at the Kanifing Magistrates Court severally, and their case was later transferred to the Banjul High Court, where they were granted bail.

Samateh said whilst she was at the PIU headquarters, she discharged blood from her body; that when they were granted bail, the wife of Ousainou Darboe took her to a clinic where she got medication.

‘‘During our bail period, we used to report to the High Court. But there was a day when Officers asked us to join their vehicle after the Court session and they took us to the PIU headquarters again,’’ she said. She said while she was at the PIU headquarters, some of her colleagues were released but she was detained in a small cell with others; that after two days, they appeared again in Court and their lawyer told the judge that they were granted bail, but the police detained them again. She added the Judge said they should be released based on the bail he initially gave them.

The witness said their case continued at the High Court, until after the December 2016 election when her husband, Ousainou Darboe and others were released. 

Samateh said her baby’s name was included in her charge sheet and any time they appear in Court, her name was mentioned.

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