Friday, April 15, 2011

State Agent testifies in NIA torture trial

An officer of The Gambia National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA), Lamin Sima has opened his testimony in the criminal trial of four Senior National Intelligence Agency (NIA) officers on 11 April, 2011 at the Banjul Magistrate Court, presided over by Magistrate Alagbe Taiwo Ade.
The former senior intelligence officers, Lamin Darboe, Ebrima Drammeh, Edrissa Jobe and Omar Jammeh are charged with three counts of “conspiracy”, “assault causing actual bodily harm” and “common assault”. They have since pleaded Not Guilty to the charges.
On Monday, the 3rd Prosecution Witness, Sergeant Lamin Sima, a narcotic officer attached to Brikama police station, said in May 2009, at Kenbujeh Brikama Highway, certain people were reported to be selling prohibited drugs around the area.
Based on this information, he called the Divisional Commanding Officer to inform him about the issue and the commander asked them to go ahead with their findings. “I inform Lamin Kabou about it and upon on our arrival, we met the 4th accused Omar Jammeh who was handling two plastic bags together with Lamin Darboe, the 1st accused,” Sergeant Sima explained.
The witness said when he introduced himself as an NDEA officer, Omar Jammeh, the 4th accused beat his chest and told him that “this is not the show of the NDEA, but instead that of the NIA so go away”.
The witness told the court that when approached Omar Jammeh for the second time, the 1st accused (Lamin Darboe) produce a Gun and opened fire and declared that anyone who touches the “nylon” (plastic) bags will be shot at.
However, the witness said he later informed his boss about it, who asked him to follow them. They all boarded an NIA vehicle together with Tijan Ndure, Abdoulie Sanneh and others heading to the Brikama police station.
At Brikama police station, he said the accused person still refused to handover the nylon bags to them and after his (the witness) boss asked to speak to Omar Jammeh on phone, but he refused.
He further said when the accused (Omar Jammeh) left for the Capital, Banjul, his boss asked him to take details of those arrested by the accused, but during process he met one Abdoulie Sanneh who informed him that he used to make deals with NIA officers, but this time around they betrayed him.
He said the accused Omar Jammeh and Lamin Darboe returned with one Victor Obi, a Nigerian, at the Brikama Police Station and a few minutes later, Ebrima Drammeh Edrissa Jobe, Omar Jammeh and one Lamin Hydra ordered the suspects Tijan Ndure and others to the NIA Headquarters in Banjul.
“I received a phone call from Ebrima Drammeh, the then Director of Operations at the NIA, asking me to report to the NIA office in Banjul in connection with the Brikama case, that they need my statement,” the witness, Lamin Sima said.
“I told him that I cannot come, and Mr. Drammeh told me that I am there with your boss Bun Sanneh and if you fail he will order for your arrest. Upon my arrival in Banjul, I met the former Director of NDEA, Bun Sanneh, Lamin Darboe, Ebrima Drammeh and Lamin Kabou. Bun asked me to join them at the NIA office in Banjul.” 
He said while at the NIA office in Banjul he saw Ebrima Drammeh and Edrissa Jobe pointing their finger to Lamin Kabou and saying that he was in custody and ran away. He said they said they have brought him back and started beating (Kabou) with an electric wire until he sustained serous injuries.
Sergeant Sima further told the court that Bun and former NIA Director BO Badjie both emerged, while they were still discussing, from inside the office and that Bun started addressing Ebrima Drammeh and Edrissa Jobe and later left for his office.
He said after Bun Sanneh left, the accused persons, Ebrima Drammeh and Edrissa Jobe took him upstairs and started beating him until he sustained serious injuries, and then took him to a cell called “Bambadinka” and held him there for 28 days. The testimony will continue on 20 April, 2011. Source – The Voice

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