NIA 9 Trial: Prosecution Witness Said He Saw Defendant Torture A UDP Detainee

By Halimatou Ceesay

A prosecution witness in the ongoing high-profile murder case involving former Gambian senior security officials Tuesday told the high court in Banjul that he had witnessed one of the defendant torturing a political detainee.

Late Solo Sandeng

Malang Sonko who works as a handyman at the agency was on duty in April 2016 when a group of supporters of the United Democratic Party (UDP) including Solo Sandeng were detained at the agency’s headquarters in Banjul for staging a peaceful demonstration against the former regime of Yahya Jammeh.

The prosecution said while in detention, the detainees were subjected to torture including beating resulting in the death of Solo Sandeng.

In his testimony, Mr Sonko said while he was at work between 10 and 11pm he heard the a woman screaming.

“I went closer to find out who was doing the beating. It was Tamba Masireh beating the woman who I was later told was Nogoi Njie,” he said.

He added that the woman was sitting on the ground whilst Tamba was standing above her and beating her with a black rubber.

He told the court that he knew the accused Tamba Masireh before and that he was working at the NIA. He said Tamba Masireh is in court and he can identify him.

The lead prosecutor counsel, Anthouman Gaye then craves the indulgence of the court for the witness to step down from the dock and identify Tamba Masireh, which the court granted.

The witness then stepped down from the dock and walked up to where the accused are seated and pointed at Tamba Masireh.

Continuing his testimony, Mr Sonko said he asked Tamba why he was continuously beating someone who is crying and pleading with him to stop.  He said Tamba in his response told him to leave the area as it was not part of his job description.

He added: “At that point, I held his hand but he pulled himself and we started pushing and pulling each other. During the push and pull, my watch came off my hand and fell on the ground. My boss Omar Bojang then came and separated us and I picked up my watch and stepped out.

“I was very angry and I shouted at them and told the director general of the agency and his people that you are sitting here watch Tamba do whatever he likes to the detainees.”

Asked by Counsel Gaye if the director general of the agency he made mention of is in court and he respond in the positive.

Counsel Gaye then ask the court for permission to allow the witness to identify him to the court which was granted. The witness then walked up to where the accused persons are seated and point at Yankuba Badjie.

Yankuba Badjie, Louis Gomez, Yusupha Jammeh, Lamin Lang Sanyang, Tamba Masireh, Saikou Omar Jeng, Haruna Suso, Lamin Darboe, Babucarr Sallah and Lamin Lang Sanyang have denied various charges including murder.


The case continues.


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