By Aisha Tamba
Six young men arraigned for conspiracy to murder before Justice AT Osie of the Kanifing high court have all accused the police at Bakoteh station of torture.
The accused Alpha Jallow, John Dallia, Solomon Mendy, Yaya Mboge, Baboucarr Jah and Gbril Mbowe, all testified that they were unlawfully treated at the Bakoteh police station.
The men, aged between 19 and 25, are accused of murdering one Alagie Bojang on the 8th of October 2019 at Bakoteh Housing Estate by stabbing and beating him, leading to his death at the Serekunda Hospital. All accused persons pleaded not guilty.
Testifying in court, the first accused Solomon Mendy from Bakoteh, explained that he was picked by the police at his workplace and told that he was needed at the police station and when he got there, he was taken to a cell. He said he was later brought out and taken to an office where he found more than four police officers sitting.
“One of them was Abdoulie Bah who told me that they needed my statement and started asking me questions and told me that if I don’t cooperate, I would be in trouble. I was scared and he continued to tell me that ‘these officers sitting here will deal with you if you don’t talk’. He then hit me on the back of my neck until I felt unconscious. I then heard him say that he could not continue and I was taken back to the cell,” Mendy alleged.
He further testified that after he regained consciousness, he was asked to have his thumbprint on a white paper supposedly containing his statement. “I told the police officer that I cannot remember giving any statement but because I was hit hard the last time by one of the officers, I was afraid to resist when they insisted I gave them my thumbprint,” Mendy explained.
Another accused person, Yaya Mboge, a student from Manjai, told the court that he was arrested by the Anti Crime Unit and taken to the Bakoteh police station but when he got to the police station, even the police did not know what brought him there. “But I heard a boy named Amadou call the police and told them that I was part of Alpha Jallow, the first accused person’s group. Then I was taken to the cell and then to the CID office. In handcuffs, I was called by one officer Jamanka who put an electric taser on my chest which was very painful, asking me to talk. After they made a statement, I asked them if I could read the statement and they told me no. Two days later, they told me to put my thumbprint on a document and until today, I have never seen that document,” he said.
The rest of the accused persons also alleged torture of one type or the other.