‘Solo Sandeng was buried with bed sheet & mattress he was lying on’ – witness tells court

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Dawda Ndure, a native of Tujereng village and civil servant working with the then National Intelligence Agency (NIA) now State Intelligence Services (sis) has informed the High Court in Banjul that late Solo Sandeng was buried with the bed sheet wrapped around the body and mattress he was lying down.


According to him, Tamba Mansary (7th accused person), Baboucarr Sallah (4th accused person) and Sheikh Omar Jeng (3rd accused person) and some other boys from the patrol team buried the remains of late Sandeng inside the NIA Tanji Training School.


Ndure was testifying as First state witness in the ongoing murder trial involving
the erstwhile NIA Director General Yankuba Badjie, Louis Richard Leese Gomez, his deputy, Saihou Omar Jeng, ex- director of operations, Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang.

 

The nine former officers of the then National Intelligence Agency (NIA) are charged with twelve counts offences, ranging from conspiracy to commit murder, murder, assaults causing actual bodily harm amongst other charges.

 

Narrating what happened, Ndure said on 14th April 2016, while in office, information came that they should stay in the office to obtain statements from some people arrested. He said after sometimes, some people were brought in the NIA Campus.


“After sometimes, Leeze Gomez (2
nd accused person) , Sheikh Omar Jeng (3rd accused person) and Tamba Mansary (7th accused person) came into the Counter Intelligence Office with late Solo Sandeng and Nogoi Njie. I was asked to obtain information from late Solo Sandeng and Nogoi Njie. Late Solo Sandeng wanted to sit on the chair but Sheikh Omar Jeng denied him and asked him to sit on the ground. After a while, Solo Sandeng, Nogoi Njie left with Sheikh Omar Jeng” he said.


He said after a while, Solo Sandeng was brought back to the Counter Intelligence Office by James Mendy and Tamba Mansary. Ndure said he was asked to take the background information of Solo Sandeng.


“I took up the background Check-Up Form. I left my desk, come and sit in front of Solo Sandeng. Then I asked him if I can offer him anything like tea or coffee before we start. He responded that he preferred to have water. I then opened the fridge and gave him water. I started asking him some questions via the check up form” he said.


According to Ndure, during the discussion, Solo Sandeng highlighted some points to him that their protest was not to conceal the government but their main agenda was to go and drop a letter to IEC that that was signed by all party militants. He said Sandeng even mentioned some of the details in the letter.


“I obtained the background information as instructed. Solo Sandeng signed the document. After signing, I asked him if he wants to pray and he responded positively. I then took him to the bath room to perform abolition and after i gave him a mat and he prayed” he explained.


After praying, Ndure said Tamba Mansary and his boys came and collected Solo Sandeng and went away with him. 


He said Nogoi Njie was later brought in by James Mendy and he took another Check-Up form and started asking her questions pertaining to the background information. He said he obtained Nogoi’s background information which she also signed accordingly. 


“After signing, the officers led by Tamba Mansary came in and collected her. We then started preparing our report and it took hours before we finalize it. And after finalizing the report, we gave it to our then boss Sheriff Gassama who gave it to Sheikh Omar Jeng” he noted. 


State witness Ndure said he then told his boss (Sheriff Gassama) that he wanted they go home but he told we can’t all fit in the car. He told me to wait for him Sheikh Omar Jeng and he then stepped out of his office.


“After a while, my former boss (Sheriff Gassama) came back and told me that he has spoken to Sheikh Omar Jeng who said that the vehicle was out. I told Gassama that since there is no vehicle, he can take along the other men in the office. They left and I was left alone in the office” he told the court.


He said “I felt bored and decided to have a walk within the NIA Campus. During the walk, I went around the back gate of the campus. I passed through the security room at the back gate and suddenly saw late Solo Sandeng lying down on a mattress, covered with bed sheet to the neck. I stood for sometimes and looked at him and I became emotional and left. This was around 03:00am. There was light were Solo Sandeng was lying down. I went back to my office and I was wondering how can this happen because I was the one talking to Solo Sandeng not long ago. So, I wondered how it happened”. 


He explained that after sitting in his office for a while and so lonely, he closed the office and left for the office of Sheikh Omar Jeng and told him he wanted to go home because it was going late. He said Sheikh Omar Jeng told him to wait as the vehicle was coming to drop him. He said after a while, the vehicle came in with one Dr Lamin Lang Sanyang.


“After a while, I went back to Sheikh Omar Jeng. I met him standing with some boys from the Patrol Team. I don’t know their names but Sheikh Omar Jeng was talking to them. He was telling them that they (NIA) lost one of their detainees. He selected 3 boys among them and ordered them to go get Spades at the newly constructed building in the NIA Campus. The boys rushed and brought the Spades and he told them to put it in the car. I told Sheikh Omar Jeng that I was going home but he asked me to join the vehicle to Tanji” he said.


He said upon arrival at Tanji at the NIA Training School, the driver horn but there was no response. He said one of the boys then climbed over the fence and entered to open the gate. 


“I dropped at the gate and the boys entered inside the campus. Later, I went there to check what they were doing. I met them digging a grave. I then left them there and went to perform ablution. During that time, the vehicle then entered the complex. Sheikh Omar Jeng who was onboard a different car following the car carrying the body of late Solo Sandeng, arrived and came down and asked me how far the boys have gone. I told him they are at the back. I then went to pray. After praying, I followed them at the back to see what is going on. Then the vehicle carrying the body of late Solo Sandeng drove up to the grave. I was standing and watching. Tamba Mansary, Baboucarr Sallah and the boys where all present. Then Sheikh Omar Jeng ordered that the body be brought down and it was brought down” he said. 


He then stated that the body was brought down with the mattress and bed sheet covered to the neck of late Solo Sandeng.


“They buried the body of Solo Sandeng with the bed sheet together with the mattress he was lying down. Tamba Mansary, Babucarr Sallah, Sheikh Omar Jeng and the boys buried the body of Solo Sandeng. During all this happening, I was standing few meters away from them. After that, Sheikh Omar Jeng told the driver to drop me at home” he concluded.


The case was then adjourned to Tuesday, May 9th, 2017 for continuation of cross examination by defends team.

 

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