BY KEBBA MAMBURAY

Yesterday on the 19th July 2018 witnesses showed up to testify before the Commission regarding the unfortunate incident that betides in Faraba Banta on the 18th of June 2018.

Mr. Tony said he is the owner of the excavator and the wheel loader machines at the Faraba Banta mining site. In his testimony, Tony said on the 18th of June 2018, he left his house for Faraba Banta with his staff and upon their arrival, he said he saw six trucks waiting for him to supply them sand.

In his testimony, he said he arrived at Faraba Banta at 6am, started mining and then supplied the 6 trucks with sand. After supplying, he went to the office at the site but at that time nobody was in the office. He said he called Julakay to inform him that there was nobody at the office and Julakay told him that they will come to work the next day. He said later, one of the PIU personnel came to him and told him to remove his excavator from the mining site and park it around where they PIU personnel were stationed. He said he asked the PIU personnel what happened and the PIU personnel told him that “the villagers have started making noise”. He said he then took the excavator around the PIU personnel.

He said he then saw the villagers coming in their large numbers from the village towards the football field, then he rushed to his car with two of his staff and decided to take the back way out of the village, and as they did so,  they got chased by the villagers but they couldn’t reach them. He said he later got lost and decided to come back to the village, where they met some PIU personnel who took record of his (Tony’s) properties.

He testified that 15 minutes later, he saw another pick up carrying six injured paramilitary officers and he followed them towards the bush where they saw a young boy around the age of 13 who showed them a way out but that they couldn’t escape. He added that they later went back to the site of gravel and then proceeded home.

He told the Commission that around 5pm, he got information that two of his machines were set ablaze, both on the very day of 18th and 19th day of June 2018. Testifying that when he gets to the site he would first load the two trucks of Julakay first; but that on the 18th June, he did not see the trucks of Julakay and that of his son and that those who issue the tickets were not there. He then told the Commission that the villagers told him that they called Julakay and told him that, they (the villagers) will burn any vehicle that is brought to work.

He expressed his doubt why Julakay did not inform him as he would have removed the equipment from the site.

In his testimony, he added that he graded a road for the villagers from the highway down to the village mosque which took him almost a year because the process is always obstructed by problems from the villagers.

Meanwhile, Amadou Demba also testified that he had two trucks that operated for him and one of them used to go to Faraba Banta to transport sand for people. He added that he does pay for the sand to Julakay through his truck driver and transport the sand to the location required.

On the 18th June 2018 Demba said he went to Faraba Banta around 1pm upon receiving a call from his truck driver that his truck was set ablaze. According to him, the driver told him that when they went to load the truck he heard villagers saying, “let’s go the truck drivers are here” in the Mandinka language.

Demba finally said, after seeing the burnt truck, he snapped them and then went to Mandinaba Police Station to report that his truck was burnt by villagers, adding that when he inspected his truck, he found out that the battery of the truck was missing.

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