Sunday, January 19, 2020

Army Major Testifies in Yanks Murder Trial

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By Yankuba Jallow

Major Amat Jangum of the Gambia Armed Forces on Friday testified that in June 1995, he and his colleagues took the family of Yankuba Touray of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council to the home of Edward Singhatey, Gambia’s defence minister at the time.

Jangum said he was the guard commander of the troops that provided security to Touray, an ex-Minister of Local Government and Lands.

Touray is charged with the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay, an ex-Minister of Finance under the defunct military junta. Touray had earlier this year failed to take his plea, but invoked what he called his constitutional immunity. The trial judge, Justice Ebrima Jaiteh entered a plea of non-guilty for him.

Testifying before a crowded courtroom on Friday, Jangum said he recognized the accused (Yankuba Touray), but he was quick to add that he has never worked with him.

He said there was a day in June 1995 when the chairman of the redundant military government ex-Captain Yahya Jammeh was travelling out of the country and he received a call from the accused person instructing him to take his family at the residence of Edward Singhatey, the then vice-chairman of the defunct military government. He added that the accused further asked him to go on a patrol along the beach side together with the other guards. The witness said the accused told him that there were people coming to the beach side with arms and ammunition and that they should capture them.

He said the family of the accused was taken to the residence of Edward Singhatey while they went on patrol along the beach side. He said he went with three (3) guards including Abdoulie Bojang alias ‘Lie Tuluba.’

“We went to the beach and we were there for a long time and it started raining. I told my guards ‘let us go home’,” he said.

He said when they returned to the accused person’s residence, they found a fleet of vehicles around and they went inside.

“Before we reached inside the house, I found Edward Singhatey standing and he was in a military uniform. I greeted him and we exchanged greetings. He told us to return to our patrol then we went back and continued with our patrol,” he said.

The witness explained that they carried on with the patrol till late night and they decided to relax at the residence of ex-Captain Ebou Jallow, the then spokesperson of the military junta. He said they later returned to the accused person’s residence, but this time there were no vehicles around.

“Do you see anything unusual?” Counsel A.A. Ceesay for the State asked.

“No, I am not privy to the house. I only go to the house to tender (give) something or when I am called. I used to sleep at the garage at the guard room,” the witness replied.

The witness said he was only a temporal guard.

“Do you know Koro Ceesay?” the prosecutor asked.

“No, I don’t know him,” Jangum replied.

The case was then adjourned to Monday, 16th December 2019 at from 9 to 10 am.

Touray’s charge came about after he refused to testify before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC).

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