By Kebba Secka
The tenth Defense witness(DW10) Aba Badjie, has told the General Court-martial on Tuesday 23rd October that he was a member of a WhatsApp group called ‘True Friends.’
When the case was called, MB Abubakr with ER Dougan announced their appearance for the State while SK Jobe together with Capt. Suwaibou Jammeh, Capt. Kebba Jabbi, Capt. Cham Samateh and Capt. Modou Demba announced their representation for the accused persons.
During cross examination, State Prosecutor MB Abubakr asked DW10 whether he was part of a WhatsApp group called “True Friends” and the witness answered in the positive.
“Did you take part in the group’s conversation,” asked MB Abubakr.
“I was one time a member of the group but I was not an active member,” replied Badjie. The State prosecutor told him that the purpose of creating the group was to rebel, and carry out mutiny within the Gambia Armed Forces. DW10 replied: “You are wrong.” At this juncture, the State prosecutor applied to be given exhibit T. When exhibit T was given to him, he requested DW10, to read out from page 13, paragraphs1, 2, and 6 which contained transcribed audios of the alleged WhatsApp group’s conversations. DW10 could be heard reading and was quoted saying: “Our intention is to change the government.” State prosecutor also referred him to other pages and paragraphs in exhibit T to be read out in Court. At page 27 paragraphs 2, 6 and 7, the witness was heard reading: “Hello. Greetings to all of you. The name given to me is big. I suggest you give me Omar’s name. I am happy with this group and that is why I joined. But there are certain conditions we need to put in this group before anyone joins it.” DW 10 was again referred to page 29 of the same exhibit and asked to read to the Court. On page 29, the state prosecutor told the Court that it entirely contained conversations made by Aba and other group members. MB Abubakr went on to reveal that on page 30, from paragraphs 7 to 22, page 32 paragraphs 7, 6, and 9, as well as page 46, all contain evidence of conversations made by Aba Badjie and other group members. “You were not only an active member of the group but a principal member,” alleged MB Abubakr. “Incorrect Sir,” Aba replied. Prior to DW10 reading exhibit T, he appealed to the Court to allow him say something which he claimed was a concern. When given the green light, Aba rejected ownership of exhibit T.
Next to give his testimony was DW11, Private Mbemba Camara. He told the Court that he is a native of Sukuta, in the West Coast Region and could recall on the 15th of July 2017, when he was arrested and taken to Yundum Military Police; that upon arrival at the Military Police, he met Lt Yusupha Jallow and Major Abdoulie Mboob. “I was taken to an Office where I met Lt Jallow and Major Mboob. Major Mboob asked me whether I was part of a WhatsApp group called ‘True Friends’ and I told him yes,” explained Camara. Asked by Defense Counsel to tell the Court all that happened, Camara said: “I told Mboob and Jallow that I was added to the group by unknown persons. I gave a call to the person and he identified himself as Sgt Yusupha Jatta alias Yarro,” he told the Court. He continued to reveal that when he asked Yarro the purpose of the group, he said it was meant to create jokes and teaching one another the correct ways of speaking the ‘Jola’ language. He said he further asked the Sergeant to tell him his status in the Military and Yarro told him that he was the third commander of the Gambia Armed Forces. Camara went on to explain that Lt Jallow threatened him that if he fail to tell them the truth, they will punish him; that his statement was obtained on the 15th of October 2017, and on the 17th July 2017, he was taken to Banjul NIA Headquarters to face BOI, where he revealed the same information to them.
The case was then adjourned to the 29th of October, 2018.