By Momodou Jarju
Assistant Commissioner of the Anti-Crime Unit of the Police, Gorrgi Mboob, has admitted giving false evidence before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations (TRRC) about his involvement in the April 10/11 2000 students’ demonstration.
In the same vein, Mr. Mboob admitted to lying twice before the Truth Commission and also giving false testimony in the then Commission of Inquiry set-up 19 years ago to probe into the April 2000 students’ demonstration.
Mboob told the TRRC: “I made a mistake.” He added he regretted making that mistake.
Mboob changed his first statement where he stated that he was chased by students of St. Augustine’s High school and that as he was about to scale over the fence of the school, Mr. Ousman Sabally pulled him down and he hit him (Mr. Mr Sabally). Sabally was the physical education master at St. Augustines.
This is contrary to the story he narrated in the first statement.
In the first statement, Mboob said he chased a guy called Brikama who insulted his mother and threw stones at him. He said he chased him to St. Augustine’s high school. And as he entered the main yard of the school, Ousman Sabally tried to block him from getting at the school and in the process, he punched Mr. Sabally on the upper part of his body, hit him with his rifle and kicked him multiple times while Mr. Sabally was on the ground.
“That is the time I saw students coming with full force and they were throwing stones at me,” he added.
Mboob admitted that his actions were unlawful and admitted that he had no legal orders to go to St. Augustine’s high school in the first place.
Thereafter, he said he went to the police medical unit for checkup and then reported the case to the police headquarters which was not recorded. However, he later admitted that this story was cooked after he was grilled by the lead counsel, Essa M. Faal, through his line of questioning.
After several denials, he agreed that the first story he narrated and provided before the TRRC was a lie.
He also said he lied at the Commission of Inquiry which was set-up 19 years ago to probe into the incident of the students’ demonstration. He said he lied when he said he did not hold a gun and he did not go to St. Augustine’s school premises.
Additionally, evidences from the findings of the then commission of inquiry which was read by lead counsel Faal suggested that Mr. Ousman Sabally was in fact assaulted by a group and not an individual as he claimed. He denied the then commission’s findings.
Notwithstanding, he said he was forced by his seniors then to craft a false story when he appeared at the then commission. He said RSM Kajali Jarju asked him not to mention anybody’s name and instead he should try to absolve himself of any blame. Mboob said he denied the request, but then RSM Jarju hit the table and told him to do what he was told.
Mboob went on to say that the Deputy Inspector of Police then, Sankum Badjie, also called him and told him to give false testimony at the then commission of inquiry.
Born on 24 April 1971, Mr. Mboob said on 10 April 2000, he was in Banjul at the Licensing Unit of the police headquarters where his role was to register number plates.
He said in the morning of 10 April 2000 around 9:30am, RSM Kajali Jarju, who was the only senior officer at the headquarters at that moment, called everybody to assemble for a briefing about an ongoing strike at Serrekunda and other parts of the greater Banjul area.
Mr. Mboob said RSM Jarju thought there was need for them to send an intelligent officer to go and survey the situation around Gambia Senior Secondary School, where it was thought that students were going to demonstrate.
He said one Sergeant Manga was tasked with that responsibility. But suddenly, Sergeant Manga returned running towards them and informed them that students were “coming.”
He said they went to the police station and met Gaye Sowe, the Commanding Officer for Banjul Division, in possession of three weapons. One AK 47 and two Chinese Mark Four plus ammunitions, he said. Mboob said the first three to enter were issued the weapons, including Ousman Cham, Yorro Mballow and himself.
Mr. Mboob said Commissioner Sowe gave him Chinese Mark Four and five blank ammunitions. He said they were not given operational orders on that day from Commissioner Sowe, except that they should “go out and scare them.”
Mboob said the three of them left not knowing who was in charge of the operation. Moving on, he said as they reached at the main high way, they saw students, some of them in uniforms while others were not whom he believed to be civilians, coming towards them and shouting that they were going to kill the fire service officers. So, he said the three of them fired up and the large crowd dispersed.
He said they immediately reported back to the parade ground where they were divided and posted to different areas in Banjul.
He said one Mr. Njie and himself were posted around Tobacco Road until around 12pm when they walked to the police headquarters and went through St. Augustine Senior Secondary School. He said they met a riot between PIU officials and the students.
He explained that Mr. Njie and himself decided to run back, but then, students saw them and chased them. He said Mr. Njie and himself separated along the way.
Mr. Mboob apologized to Mr. Sabally once more after saying he did apologise to him some years ago. He also urged every officer who took part in the students’ demonstration to reveal the truth which he said will set them free.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mboob said he forgives everybody who took part in the arson attack on his home in July 2019.