Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Witness Alleges Unlawful Detention at NIA with her Husband

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By Yankuba Jallow

A woman gardener in North Bank Region has on Monday, 9th November informed the Truth Commission that she was arrested by the National Intelligence Agency after authorities alleged her son was involved in a coup plot against the government.

The Mbankam born told the Commission that she was picked up at their home by agents of the NIA.

Sonko said she was asked about her son, Dawda Bojang. Ba Ensa Bojang (sonko’s husband) was also arrested. They were told that they were going to Amdalai, but the officers instead headed to Banjul.

They were told they were needed to answer some questions regarding their son. Sonko’s son was a soldier and was accused of taking part in a coup plot, but escaped arrest.

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On their way to Banjul, they passed by Mbollet-Ba where the officers descended to arrest one Olimatou Corr, but they found that she was out and they decided to arrest her (corr) co-wife. Corr was later arrested at home by NIA operatives.

The phones of the detainees were seized from them and they were denied communication. They crossed with the last ferry at the Banjul-Barra crossing point.

Sonko said she was asked whether her son used to communicate with her and she replied in the negative. She added that the same question was put to her husband and he too responded in the negative.

She said some people were released by the NIA, but she, her husband, Mariama Njie, Meita Njie and Olimatou Corr were detained for seven months.

The witness said all these people were arrested in connection with their sons’ alleged involvement in a coup d’etat.

She said they were served half bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She said they used to sleep on mattresses, but they were bitten by mosquitoes. She added that they were not provided with mosquito net.

She said she, Olimatou Corr, Mariama Njie and Meita Njie were sick while in detention.

Amnesty International Report, stated that the NIA and State Guard arrested at least 30 people including a 16 year old boy in connection with the failed 30th December 2014 coup.

She said one Lamin Sanyang and Fatou Darboe who were both Medical Officers at the NIA used to provide them with medications, but she refused to drink the medicines because she was not diagnosed.

“Until today, I did not know the reason for my arrest,” she said.

She added: “We remained on the same clothing for the 7 months we spent in detention.”

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