By Kebba Secka
Nogoi Njie, the twenty-sixth (PW26) prosecution witness in the trial of the former State Intelligence officers, on Wednesday January 23rd 2019, told the Banjul High Court that after she was beaten at the NIA Headquaters, she was taken to the NIA clinic with Fatou Camara and Fatoumata Jawara.
When the case was called before Justice Kumba Sillah Camra of the Banjul High Court, R. Y Mendy announced her appearance for the state while defense counsel E. Jallow appeared for the accused persons.
“Did you have physical injuries at the NIA apart from the pains,” asked R. Y Mendy. The witness replied: “Yes, some parts of my body were swollen.” When asked by the prosecution to tell the Court which part of her body was swollen, the witness said her face and back. She added that her face was swollen causing her to lose her sight.
According to the witness, it was at the reception hall at NIA, where she found Fatoumata Jawara and Fatou Camara, both of whom members of the United Democratic Party (UDP).
“When you met Fatoumata Jawara and Fatou Camara, did you talk to them?” asked R. Y. Mendy. “No, they were lying down,” she answered. The witness continued to explain that while they were admitted at the NIA clinic, they refused to take injection from the nurses working there. She added that they were given paracetamol and a spray (the type used by sports persons to relieve pain).
“Who took you to the clinic?” asked R.Y. Mendy
“It was Sheikh Omar Jeng and the workers at the NIA,” answered the witness. When asked by Counsel Mendy how they were taken to the NIA, the witness said they were aided by people.
“Why were you given help?” asked Mendy.
“At that time, I cannot walk and I had pain all over my body,” explained the witness. When asked about the condition of Fatoumata Jawara and Fatou Camara at the NIA reception hall, the witness said they were in the same condition as her. She noted that there were two nurses at the NIA clinic in the persons of Fatou Darboe and Saliba Jammeh.
Counsel asked: “Apart from attempting to give you injection, did Fatou Darboe tell you anything?”
“No,” the witness responded. Asked by the prosecution to tell the Court how many days they were admitted at the clinic, the witness said three weeks. She pointed out that during this period, Saliba Jammeh used to soak banana leaves in boiled water and washed it on their bodies.
“Do you know why Saliba used to boil water with banana leaves and washed your bodies?” asked Mendy.
“It was to relieve pain because we were suffering,” responded Nogoi. When asked what happened to her clothes that she said was torn and tattered at the NIA, the witness said she went with it to Mile II Prisons. She said she was taken from the NIA to the High Court before she was finally taken to Mile II. She said during the time she and her fellow detainees were in the hands of the security, they were driven from Mansakonko in the Lower River Region to Janjangbureh Prisons, where they were detained in a cell. She noted that while in that cell, she was sick and taken to Bansang Hospital for treatment. Nogoi told the Court her condition before she was arrested; that she is a diabetic and a high blood patient. She said she and her co-prisoners were driven from Janjangbureh to Mansakonko, where they were sentenced to three years imprisonment.
During cross-examination by Defense Counsel Ebrima Jallow, the witness was asked whether she took part in a planned demonstration by members of the UDP, and she responded thus: “I did not take part in a planned demonstration.” Counsel Jallow reminded her on the 13th of April when the late Solo Sandeng met her at her residence in Mandinary to inform her of a party’s meeting and was present, the witness responded: “I said, I was not present.” Asked by Counsel Jallow whether she made any statement at the Police, and she answered in the affirmative.
“If you are shown this statement, would you be able to identify it?” asked Defense Counsel Jallow. “No, I’m an illiterate,” responded the witness. Asked whether it was correct that the phone number she gave the Police at the time of making the statement is 9342115, the witness answered in the negative saying it is not hers. Defense Counsel Jallow also asked her whether she has sworn to any affidavit as to the whereabouts of the late Solo Sandeng. “Do you remember making a statement in 2016 to a Lawyer as to the whereabouts of the late Solo Sandeng?” asked Jallow. The witness said she recalled making a statement as to the whereabouts of Solo Sandeng to Lawyer AB Gaye.
“Apart from making the statement to Counsel AB Gaye, did you sign it?” he asked.
“I did not sign it,” the witness responded.
At this stage, Defense Counsel Jallow applied to tender the statement of the witness made to the Police as evidence. The application was admitted and marked as exhibit H.