15 May 2018

Gambia: In the NIA Case - 'I Help Put Solo Sandeng's Corpse in a Pickup,' Witness Tells Court

The 15th Prosecution Witness (PW15) in the ongoing trial of nine National Intelligence Agency (NIA) officers, Alhajie Bara Gaye, told Justice Kumba Sillah Camara of the Banjul High Court that he helped put the corpse of the late Solo Sandeng, in the back seat of a pickup on the 14th of April, 2016.

Gaye, a security officer at the NIA, made the statement when he was testifying before a secured courtroom on 14th May, 2018. The witness said he hailed from Taibatu and has been working as a security officer at the NIA, now called the State Intelligence Services (SIS).

"I have been working there for three years now," he said.

He told the court that he gets to the office at 8am; that he sits at the reception and observe people entering and leaving the NIA headquarters; that the reception at the NIA, is located at the gate; that there are many gates and wherever he is posted, he sits at the reception of that gate.

Further giving evidence before the Court, PW15 said he can recall the 14th of April, 2016; that he started work at 8am that day and was posted to work at the back gate of the NIA; that he was there alone and was working smoothly without problems.

"I was there up to 8pm when I opened the gate for a black vehicle to leave. It was the DG who was in the vehicle. I don't know who owns the vehicle and that was the first time I saw the vehicle," he said; that when he closed the gate, he went back to the reception and found some people gathered in the area.

"I saw a man lying on my guard post. He is undressed. Before I could identify the people gathered there, they left and I was able to identify Tamba Masireh, who also works at the agency. The man lying down wears under pants but he was neither moving nor looking. His clothes were hanged on the door," he said.

PW15 said he called his boss Mbemba Camara, and told him to come and see what has been left at his guard post. "I told him to come and see the dead body left at my place. Mbemba came and saw it and before he left, I asked him who the dead body was and he told me Solo Sandeng," he said; that Mbemba left him there and went away; that Mbemba came back with his boss James Mendy and the Doctor Lamin Sanyang, who also works at the agency.

"I helped the doctor to dress the corpse of late Solo Sandeng properly. I was one of those who helped to dress the corpse with the Dr. Lamin Sanyang. I did not know the name of the others," he said.

He told the Court that the corpse of late Solo Sandeng was left there for a while and apart from seeing and dressing the corpse, he did not see the doctor do anything else; that the doctor came back and put on his gloves and then the corpse was lifted with the sponge it was lying on, and put on the back seat of the pickup.

"I, Lamin Sanyang and Sheikh Tijan Camara, lifted the corpse of late Solo Sandeng and put it in the back seat of the pickup," he said; that Mbemba Camara was at the main gate when they were lifting the corpse. He said he did not know the others who were there but the driver of the pickup was there.

He was then asked by Senior Counsel A.A.B Gaye to look around the Court and tell them if Lamin Lang Sanyang and Tamba Masireh were present. He answered in the positive and walked to where the accused persons sat and identified Lamin Lang Sanyang and Tamba Masireh, by pointing at them. Tamba Masireh was seen laughing when the witness pointed at him.

The case was adjourned to today for further hearing.

Gambia

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