Gambia: Lawyer Darboe's Praise Singer Testifies At TRRC

TRRC in Gambia

A praise singer to the UDP leader Lawyer Ousainou Darboe has on Thursday, 24th October told the TRRC that she fainted in her cell at Mile Two Prison.

Juguna Suso told the TRRC that she was arrested by the paramilitary on the 14th April 2016 at the residence of Lawyer Darboe.

This was the day the leadership of the United Democratic Party (UDP) was arrested for unlawful assembly when they took to the street demanding for Ebrima Solo Sandeng's body to be handed over to death or alive. The demonstration came on the heels of rumours that Solo Sandeng died under the custody of the State.

Juguna told the TRRC that she was not part of the demonstration, but she was arrested by the paramilitary and some agents of the NIA who were trying to locate the residence of Solo Sandeng.

The former employee of the Ministry of Tourism added she was a cleaner at the Hotel School. The 55 - year - old said she left the job during the 1997 presidential elections campaign because she belongs to the United Democratic Party and the Government then was a military government. The Dippa Kunda born said she was convicted and sentenced to 3 - year imprisonment term on several criminal counts including unlawful assembly and riot.

She told the TRRC that she was arrested alongside two other men on the 16th April 2016.

According to her, she did not follow the protesters, adding she was at Lawyer Darboe's home where she used to reside. She said following the arrest of UDP leaders, the Police came to Lawyer Darboe's home and arrested her together with two men. She said one of the men was caught at his sales place.

"They caught and pulled me down on the ground and tore all my clothes. I was nearly naked because the wrapper I had was light. I told them I did not go for the demonstration, but they told me they don't care. I was forced to sit on the floor. I was kneeling on the road. I was wounded because my waist was dislocated. The truck was high and I couldn't climb on it, but they threw me inside the truck," she said.

She testified the paramilitary personnel and NIA agents asked her to take them to the residence of Solo Sandeng, but when she declined to show them the way she was taken to the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) headquarters where she was briefly detained before she was finally moved to Mile II Prison. She said at the PIU headquarters, she observed that all the leaders of the UDP were bleeding including Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, Lamin Dibba and Kemeseng Jammeh.

"I was taken to the PIU with torn clothes," she remarked.

"The NIA were all over the windows - it was difficult for air to pass through the windows because of their closeness to the windows. We were sitting in that heat with our wounds. My blood pressure rose to over 200," she said.

She testified they brought doctors from the Jammeh Foundation Hospital and she was told that she has to be careful or else she risks becoming paralyzed. She said some of the detainees were released including the salesmen and women.

She told the TRRC that the detainees at the PIU headquarters include 30 men and 2 females, adding that they shared one restroom. She said during the first night, they were issued mattreses to sleep on.

"I did not sleep that night. I was urinating almost every minute," she testified.

She added they were moved to Mile II Prison when former President Yahya Jammeh came from his foreign trip. She said at Mile II, five inmates shared a mattress and they shared space with mad people. According to her, on the first day at the Remand Wing of Mile, there was smoke all over and some of them fainted. She said she spent 3 months at the Remand Wing.

"The food that we were served was terrible," she remarked, adding that "the food was not fit for human consumption."

"I am not well and my waist still pains me," she said.

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