By Yankuba Jallow
Dr. Sheriff Alagie Lamin Ceesay has told the TRRC that he was part of the UDP convoy during the 1996 presidential elections campaign that left their people at the Denton Bridge while they went home.
Ceesay, who is the current Clinic Director of the Kololi Clinic, is the fifth witness in the fifth session. He appeared on Thursday, 13th June 2019 to give testimony with regards to the conditions of the patients he received who suffered from the 22nd September 1996 Denton Bridge Incident involving about 100 UDP supporters and the security personnel.
The 77-year old professional medical practitioner said he was part of the UDP campaign convoy heading to Banjul for a meeting on the 22nd September 1996. He said while on their way to the meeting, the entourage was stopped at the Denton Bridge by soldiers. He detailed that he was in the same car with Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, the party leader of the UDP.
“We received a security report that we should abort the planned trip to Banjul. The security adviser advised Ousainou Darboe that it is more prudent to abort the trip. Our driver made a turn and we went to Pipeline,” Dr. Ceesay said, adding that they left the the convoy at the Bridge.
He said the following morning, 119 UDP supporters who were victims of the Denton Bridge incident out of whom 16 were females, were brought to the Kololi Clinic and he treated them all free of charge.
“I gave instruction that the victims must be treated and no account should they refused,” he said.
He said the youngest among the victims was 18 years old whereas the eldest was 60. He said most of the victims sustained injuries on their backs, bruises, cuts that are not deep among other injuries. He said the injuries on the back suggested that the alleged assailants were using sticks and were beating them whereas those whose arms/shoulders were broken suggested that the individuals were trying to defend themselves.
“We did not see broken limbs. We did not see any broken heads,” the doctor told the TRRC.
He detailed that 55 to 75 % were suffering from cuts and bruises while those who suffered from broken arms weren’t much. He said it was 12 out of the lot who were admitted as in-patient. He narrated that one of the victims was a 5-month pregnant woman though she suffered no complication as a result of the torture.
He said there was no one who died while under his care. He detailed that one man, who was prominent within the UDP camp died weeks following his discharge from the Clinic. Ceesay adduced that the late griot died in the hands of the security.
Dr. Ceesay told the TRRC that after undergoing his professional studies abroad, he had served in various positions in the PPP Government before resigning from the government and going into private medical practice.