10 January 2013

Gambia: Prison Officer Testifies in Prison Break Case

Musa Sanyang of the Gambia Prison Services (GPS) attached to Mile II State Central Prison, yesterday testified before Magistrate Dawda Jallow of the Banjul Magistrates' Court as the fifth prosecution witness in the ongoing alleged prison break involving Sulayman Jammeh alias 'Dad' and eighteen others.

In his evidence in chief, the prison warden informed the court that he knew all the accused persons and on the 27th of October 2012, the remand prisoners were on rest and some of them he said were at the bath rooms where one of them broke the window. He said he later went to see the broken place and upon seeing it, he called chief superintendent Salif Jarjue to witness the breaking that took place; adding that he also called Operation Commander Lamin Faal.

According to the witness, the only thing he could do for his safety was to put all the inmates inside the cells and called masonry to maintain the place for security. He added that the second problem was when all the inmates were inside he told his officers on the ground that hence the place was broken and no one was identified, that was why he put all of them inside the cells.

Mr. Sanyang testified that he told the officers that if the accused persons need water, let them call him for assistance but that if they want to go to the toilet they could use their chamber pots. He said remand prisoners at cell number 11 complained that the first accused, Sulayman Jammeh wanted to go to the toilet and they all came out and started to break the padlocks of the cells. He said he made a call to the commissioner, Lamin Faal for the second incident and deputy director, Yaya Jarjue and rushed to the soldiers at the gate for assistance. He said he told the soldiers that anyone who wanted to escape they can break his/ her legs. He added that the accused persons were throwing basins in prison while others insulted his mother saying that he is the cause of the problem. He said Faal and Jarjue came and asked them what the problem was and those who were destroying the padlocks were identified.

PW5 testified that the said padlocks were taken to the police to explain their problems and statements were obtained from them.

The case is adjourned to 17th of January for defence counsel Ebrima Jah to cross examine PW1, and also finished the cross examination of PW4.

Police prosecutor 1st Class Faye appeared for the Inspector General of Police.

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