By Kebba Secka / Kebba Mambureh

Private Soldier Alieu Sanneh, Defence Witness 12 (DW12), testified that he was sent an audio message by the creator of the group, Sgt Yusupha Jatta alias Yarro, inviting him to a meeting. DW12 made this statement in the ongoing General Court-Martial, on Monday November 5th 2018.

When the case was called, Sheriff Kumba Jobe with Capt Suwaibou Jammeh, Capt Kebba Jabbi, and Capt Abdoulie K. Conteh, announced their presence for the accused persons while MB Abubakr with ER Dougan and Capt A Njie, appeared for the State. DW12 said he replied tothe audio message to the ‘WhatsApp’ group members saying even though he would be unable to attend their meeting, his spirit and prayers was with them (members of the group) throughout; that after he sent this message to Yarro, his mobile phone got lost and he was no longer hearing from members of the group.

Asked by Defense Counsel SK Jobe to narrate anything he knows about the matter before the Court, DW12 said he was added to the group by Sgt. Yarro Jatta; that when he found out from him the reason, Sgt. Yarro told him that it was meant for jokes and fun. “That is how I became a member of the WhatsApp group,” he told the Court. He went to reveal before the Court that when he became a member, he has been listening to the conversations of the group including their text messages. “When I listened to the messages that passed through the group, I realized that they were jokes and funny messages,” he told the Court.

DW12 further narrated to the Court that after he lost his phone, he used his Comium line and gave a call to Sgt Yarro but he was unreachable. “Sometime later, I then gave a telephone call to private Lamin Jatta just to hear from members of the group. Private Lamin told me that Sgt. Yarro was detained and I told him that this was why I could not hear from him (Sgt Jatta),” DW12 told the Court. Asked to narrate when he was arrested and what happened during the period of his arrest, DW12 said he was arrested on the 15th of July 2017 and was taken to the Infantry Battalion in Yundum by Lt. Yusupha Jallow. “On the following day of my arrest, I was taken to the NIA to face a panel of investigation where I was asked questions in connection to the ‘WhatsApp’ group,” he explained. He told the Court that he never hesitated in telling the panel how he became involved in the alleged; that he was part of the group when he was added by Sgt. Yarro. DW12 further explained that when the panel of investigators at the SIS asked him the name given to the group, he answered ‘True Friends’; that he did not hide anything to the investigators but to reveal his knowledge in connection to the matter. He said when he told the investigators that he was a member of the ‘WhatsApp’ group for just a month, Lt. Yusupha Jallow jumped and said to him that he was not telling them the truth, and would take him to a place where he would reveal the truth to them. “I was then taken to a separate room where I met Capt. Alhagie Camara. After sometime, Lt. Jallow came into my room and asked me whether I heard the shouting of Lance Corporal Sambujang who was being maltreated at the other room,” he told the Court. He said that was how he got scared and signed a statement that was made by him.

During crossed examination, State prosecutor MB Abubakr asked the witness: “Can you tell the Court the number you used in the ‘WhatsApp’ group?”  The witness replied: ‘‘2202039’’

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