NIA 9 Case: ‘I Found Detainees With Body Injuries In ‘Bambadinka’ Cell’ – Said Witness

By Halimatou Ceesay

Seedy Saidybah the prosecution witness in the Solo Sandeng Murder Trial involving former defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA) officials, has today 7th May, told the court that he found detainees with body injuries in a detention cell called Bambadinka at the NIA Headquarters.

Late Solo Sandeng

In his testimony the witness said whilst on duty on the said day, Tamba Masireh and Baboucarr Sallah came to him at the door few minutes to 4:00am and said they were going out then he opened the gate for them. After they left, Lamin Lang Sanyang a medic officer came in, and at around 4:00am Tamba and Sallah returned back to the Campus, said the witness.

When asked how Lamin Lang Sanyang came to the headquarters on the day in question, the witness said he was at his office when he heard a sound of a horn at the gate and he went and open the gate for Sanyang. He said when Sanyang entered with his vehicle he came off his vehicle with a bag and stethoscope around his neck.

Saidybah added, he used to see Lamin Lang Sanyang as he (Sanyang) do come to the headquarters to check on the sick staffs and detainees and sometimes give them medicines. “Sanyang might be a doctor, because there is a clinic at the NIA,” he said.

He said before closing from work he usually do inspections and on the day in question, there were three people namely Fatou Camara, Nogoi Njie, and Fatoumata Jawara lying in front of his desk, however there was glass window between them.

“As I opened the other cell called Bambadinka, I found Kafu Bayo, Modou Ngum, and Ebrima Jabang in a bad condition. They had injuries all over their body, hands and legs, seated on a carton spread on the floor, but I didn’t see Solo Sandeng,” he said.

Still testifying Saidybah disclosed that when the detainees were first brought to the NIA, they were all looking healthy, walking and talking normally, however when Lamin Darboe one of the accused persons took Solo Sandeng out of the cell, up till his closing time Solo was not brought back to the cell.

“I have no idea where Solo was taken to when Lamin Darboe took him out until today and I do not see him leaving the NIA alive,” he said.

He added that he did not see Tamba, Sallah and Sanyang leave the headquarters through the gate he was posted at when they (Tamba, Sallah and Sayang) came in around 4am. He said they packed their motorbikes and went straight inside and from then he did not see them at all and the motorbikes were still packed as he and Mbemba Camara did the handing over after they closed from work.

He further stated that the he resumed work on the following day 17th April, 2016 at 8am. “I went around before taking over and found Fatou Camara, Fatoumata Jawara and Nogoi Njie admitted at the clinic, lying down on separate beds. I went to the cell and met Ebrima Jabang, Kafu Bayo and Modou Ngum. I did not find Solo Sandeng there,” he said.

He said he has no idea on how they (the female detainees) got to the clinic because it was not on his duty, adding that he met the admitted patients with Lamin Lang Sanyang.

He was then asked by the court to leave the dock and identify the accused persons by pointing at them. He identifies to the court Sheikh Omar Jeng, Baboucarr Sallah, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe, and Lamin Lang Sanyang.

Responding to the questions during cross examination from defence counsel C.E Mene for Yankuba Badjie, the witness said there is a cell called Bambadinka and the name Bambadinka is a Mandinka language. He said he did not know who gave the cell that name because the name has been there prior to him joining the agency.

“Prior to joining the NIA I did not know of the name Bambadinka, I knew about the name when I joined the agency. Whether it is a nick name or not, all I know is that it is called Bambadinka,” said Saidybah.

Counsel Mene then put to him that he (witness) describes the name Bambadinka as a pool for alligators in his evidence-in-chief and then asked him if there are alligators in the cell. In his response witness said it is not that crocodiles and alligators live in the cell but it is just a name given to the cell which means crocodile pond.

“I am putting it to you that the name Bambadinka is just a nickname and it does not mean that there are alligators or crocodiles in the cell,” Mene said.

Witness replied that whether Crocodiles sleeps there or not, the name is Bambadinka.

Hearing continues.

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