Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Berending’s alleged Farafenni Camp Attacker opens defence

Mr. Abdoulie Sonko, a native of Niumi Berending has opened his defence in the treason trial before Justice Emanuel Amadi at the High Court in Banjul on February 9, 2011.
Mr. Sonko is alleged to have been involved in the 1996 fatal Farafenni Army Camp attack and he is charged with Three Counts of Treason and Six Counts of Murder.
Charges for which may carry a death penalty if found guilty.
On Wednesday, Mr. Sonko told the Court that before, he lived in Niumi Berending, but now lives at the State’s Central Prison, Mile II. The former school teacher and a Conductor of the Gambia Public Transportation Company (GPTC) said he was in Ivory Coast in 1991 where he had owned a tea-shop.

Guided by defence counsel Lamin S. Camara, the accused said he is aware of being charged with three Counts of Treason and Six Counts of Murder. What is your respond to allegation that you conspired with Mballo Kanteh, Omar Dampha, Sulayman Sarr, Essa Baldeh and Yaya Drammeh alias “invincible iron face” to over throw the democratically elected Government of The Gambia? Sonko: “I have no idea about that.”
Sonko said also denies that on 8th November 1996, he and others attacked the Farafenni Army Camp. It is not true, by then I was in Ivory Cost. I never met the said names except at Mile II Central Prison, he said.
He denied murdering military officers, Corporal Saikou Sidibeh, Corporal Essa Keita, Private Essa Manneh, Staff Sergeant Lamin Badjie, Private Bakary Saidy, and Private Ebrima Bojang on 8th November 1996 at Farafenni Army Camp. “My lord it is not true, on this very day I was in Ivory Cost.”
Abdoulie Sonko said the 2nd prosecution witness (pw2) Sidibeh was also charge with treason at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) after he (Sidibeh) admitted the he knew Sonko (accused) in Liberia. However, Sonko revealed that Sidibeh was set free after he testified against him.
I was arrested on 6th August 2003 by an Intelligent Officer at my home town and I was taken to Mile II Central Prison by Paramilitary personnel. On 8th August 2008, I was taken to the Banjul Magistrates’ Court. Abdoulie Sonko said. The trial continues on 24th February, 2011. Source: The Voice

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