By Yankuba Jallow
Lamin Jobarteh, the twenty first prosecution witness (PW21) in the ongoing criminal trial of former chiefs of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) said that Solo Sandeng was buried in a 7 metre long grave.
“What was the length you measured with your feet?” asked Lawyer Ibrahim Jallow
“It was seven (7) meters. I used my feet to count the length of the person and I told my junior (Lamin Jabang) that it seems someone has been buried there,” Jobarteh said.
Jobarteh made this statement whilst under cross-examination by Lawyer Ibrahim Jallow, a Lawyer for Sheikh Omar Jeng.
The accused persons Yankuba Badjie, former Director General, Louis Gomez, former Deputy Director, Saikou Omar Jeng, former Director of Operations, Baboucarr Sallah, Haruna Susso, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang.
They are standing trial on twenty-five charges ranging from murder, grievous bodily harm, conspiracy to commit a felony, accessory, forgery, making documents without authority, fabricating evidence, making false death certificate, disobedience to statutory duty, abduction in order to murder and abduction in order to subject persons to grievous harm.
When the case was called before Justice Kumba Sillah- Camara of the Banjul High Court, Combeh Gaye announced her representation for the State alongside her were Lawyers Antouman AB Gaye, Lamin S. Camara, Rachel Y. Mendy and Yassin Senghore.
Jobarteh told the Court that he has been working as a security officer for the National Intelligence Agency since the year 2004 attached to the President’s Office. He said on the 15th April 2016, he was posted at the NIA Annex in Tanji Village.
“On that particular date around the Fajr (morning prayers), I saw a reflection of light whilst I was on duty and I called my colleague Lamin Jabang and consulted him. None of us knew what was happening. Thereafter, we opened the door of the main house where we were and saw Lamin Bojang jumping over the fence and opening the main entrance of the institution (Annex) then we saw a white pickup coming into the Annex,” the witness testified.
The witness told the court that he remembered Dawda Ndour came to him (the witness) and asked him (the witness) whether the Chief Security Officer of NIA, James Mendy has called him but the witness stated that he responded in the negative.
“I saw Dawda Ndour who is the senior man of the crew behind the bananas digging but the place was very hard for him. In the crew were; Buba Njie, Malafi Jarju, Lamin Bojang, Ngora Secka Ngor and Ansumana,” he narrated to the court.
The witness adduced that he was inside the house peeping through the window near the fence which is about ten (10) metres from where they were digging. He stated that he was then asked to be at the main gate to open it for Sheikh Omar Jeng, the former Director of Operation at the NIA who at that time was coming with his team. Later, the witness put forward that he saw three (3) pickups coming and he identified some of them before the court.
He continued: “Those who were in the pickup included Sheikh Omar Jeng, Lamin Darboe, Baboucar Sallah, Haruna Suso, Lamin Sanyang and Tamba Masireh. When Sheikh Omar Jeng arrived, he asked me whether the people are ready and I replied that I don’t know.
“After that, Sheikh Omar Jeng assembled us near the veranda with his personnel advising us. He told us if whatever happened there (at the Annex) is known outside it must have come from one of us. He also ordered for the pickups to take different directions, one moved in the Tujereng direction, the other Tanji whilst the other one used the main highway,” he said.
“Did you find out what those people were digging?” asked Lawyer Gaye.
“No?” replied the witness.