By Nelson Manneh
Sheikh Tijan Camara the nineteenth Prosecution Witness (PW19) yesterday told a trial Court that he witnessed when Solo Sandeng was buried in Tanji. He told the High Court in his testimony in the trial of eight former NIA personnel that they carried the body of Solo Sandeng from the then NIA Headquarters now SIS in Banjul to their other office in Tanji.
The nineteenth prosecution witness (PW19) in his testimony said that he came to know that the man who was lying in the reception room was Solo Sandeng because the woman who was sitting on the ground few metres away from Solo Sandeng was calling his name and secondly when they were carrying him he heard Babucarr Sallah saying in Mandinka you Solo Sandeng you just pretend that you are dead but be rest assured that I’m not yet done with you. He (PW19) said this was the time he knew that the man who was lying down was Solo Sandeng.
PW19 further told the court that when Laminig Sanyang, the medic, arrived, he met Sheikh Omar Jeng standing and Solo Sandeng lying down on the ground. PW19 said he was standing at the door of the reception room, he saw Lamin Sanyang with a device which he (Lamin Sanyang) used to examine Solo Sanding who laid on a small mattress. He added that after the examination Lamin Sanyang told Sheikh Omar Jeng, “This man’s (Solo’s) cells are all off.” Then Sheikh Omar Jeng asked Lamin Sanyang the medic what he meant by that and Lamin Sanyang then told him that, “This man is dead.”
PW19 at this point told the court that the Director of Operations Sheikh Omar Jeng then took his phone and made a call, and told the person he was speaking to, in Wolof, that Solo Sandeng is gone. He said then the Director of Operations instructed one of them, whose name he cannot remember, to go and bring the clothes of Solo Sandeng.
Sheikh Tijan Camara the nineteenth Prosecution Witness (PW19) told the court that Sheikh Omar Jeng then told them that their mission is to go to Tanji to bury Solo Sandeng. He said that Jeng further told them that he is going to clear the way so that their vehicles will not stop on the way until they reach Tanji.
PW19 said he and the others were then instructed to place the corpse in a vehicle with number plate BJL 9813 K, that after placing the corpse in the vehicle with the mattress then Lamin Sanying came and squeezed the legs of Solo Sanding in the vehicle so that he can fit and then he closed the door.
Lawyer Yassin Senghor for the state then asked him where he was when all he is saying was happening. In response PW19 said he was standing beside the vehicle, then they left for Tanji.
When Lawyer Yassin Senghore asked who and who left for Tanji PW19 said it was he himself, Yusupha Jammeh, Yankuba Jallow, Babucarr Sallah, Tamba Mansarie Lamin Sanyang, Sheikh Omar Jeng the Director of Operations and others whose names he cannot remember. He added that they went with more than three vehicles, though he cannot remember the exact number.
He said upon their arrival in Tanji, they could not enter through the main gate because it was closed. He said one among them dropped from one of the vehicles, climb over the fence and opened the gate; that all of them now entered. He said they then parked their vehicle in one corner of the fence. He said that was the time two officers came out to confirm who entered the premises.
PW19 said to the court that when they arrived in Tanji the Director of Operations Sheik Omar Jeng instructed one boys to dig a grave. He said he cannot remember the name of the boy but the boy used a peak axe to dig the hole.
He said that after digging the grave Lamin Sanyang then gave them each a pair of gloves to put on to prevent them from touching the fluid from the corpse.
He said each of them wore the gloves then Babucarr Sallah, Tamba Mansarie and Lamin Sanyang placed the corpse placed in the grave. He said Lamin Sanyang then told them to throw their gloves in the grave before covering the corpse with soil.
PW19 said that it was Lamin Sanyang, Tamba Mansarie and Babucarr Sallah who buried the corpse.
He said that the people present during the burial are himself (Sheikh Tijan Camara), Babucarr Sallah, Tamba Mansarie, Yusupha Jammeh, Yankuba Jallow, Sheikh Tijan Jeng and others whose names he cannot remember. He said that they were approximately 20 in number.
He told the court that after the burial his head Yusupha Jammeh told him to stand beside him and advised him not to touch anything. He said the Director of Operations Sheikh Omar Jeng then warned them that the issue should not be disclosed to anybody; and that if the news is heard outside he will know that one of them present is the one who disclosed it. He threatened to kill anyone who did so.
He said Jeng then instructed their driver to drop him and his head Yusupha Jammeh at their respective homes. He said that they all left the place together.
PW19 said the following day they all reported to the office for their normal activities and his head Yusupha Jammeh heard that Fatoumatta Camara and others were admitted at the Clinic. He said he then went to the Clinic and met these ladies there and spoke to all of them. He said one of the ladies called him and gave him some money to go and buy food for her.
Lawyer Yassin Senghor then asked PW19 whether if he saw the personnel he made mention of (Sheik Omar Jeng and others) in the court he will be able to recognise them. PW19 responded in the positive. He was then asked to go and identify them. The witness then identified them by pointing at them one after the other.
The trial was presided over by Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara.
Proceedings continue on Monday the 2nd of July 2018, at 1pm prompt for continuation of hearing.