BY KEBBA MAMBURAY
On the 1st of August 2018, Essa Jallow appeared before the Commission which was set up by the president to probe into the unfortunate incident of that fateful day of June 18th 2018, when live bullets was sprayed on unarmed demonstrators, leaving three people or more dead and scores seriously injured.
In his testimony, Mr. Jallow told the Commission that on the incident of the 18th June 2018 he was called and informed that there was an incident in Faraba Banta but the caller couldn’t tell him what was happening. He said he then told a reporter, Sarjo Brito, about the happenings in Faraba Banta who then told him that there was a report of fatality.
He said he then decided to go to Faraba Banta in the company of a reporter, a camera man and a driver to cover the unfortunate incident. As they took off to Faraba, along the way they met with two ambulances going towards the Brikama end but they decided to proceed instead of following the ambulance.
Upon their arrival at Faraba Banta, Mr. Jallow said some youths stopped them and told them that they should be careful because the place is dangerous. He further said, a few minutes later, a large crowd approached them and asked them what they were doing there? He said he told them that they came to cover the incident. He added that he requested someone from the crowd to accompany them to the mining site, then someone volunteered and took them.
As they reached the site, he said he saw a burning grader and a truck that had already been set on fire and further explained that he saw another truck that was already loaded with sand which was also set ablaze. Then a gentleman, who claimed to be the driver of one the trucks persuaded him to go and see another truck that was burning at the other side of the mining site. He said he then decided to interview their escort who explained to them what had happened.
Then he said on their way to interview some villagers, they saw some angry youth vandalizing one compound and he asked the camera man to film. But as they were filming he said he told the camera man to stop filming because he was worried that the issue might get worse based on his instincts as well as being worried about the safety of the camera man.
He said during the vandalizing, he saw a boy holding a heavy metal and destroying the walls, so they went back to their vehicle and told the escort to arrange an interview for them. He added that he interviewed the VDC Chairman and a lady who claimed that her son was one of the victims who died during the incident. He said during the interview with some of the villagers, he saw some youth burning some household items at the village Bantaba.