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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

I escorted Solo Sandeng to NIA- witness

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By Fatou Sowe

Baba Danso, an officer of the former National Intelligence Agency (now SIS) has told the high court in Banjul presided over by Justice Kumba Sillah Camara that he escorted Solo Sandeng and four others to the NIA headquarters in Banjul on the instruction of Saikou Omar Jeng, the 3rd accused person in the Solo Sandeng murder trial.

Giving evidence as the 5th prosecution witness in the trial, Danso also told the court that he has been working for the NIA for the past 20 years and on 14 April 2016, he was the officer commanding the political unit and his responsibilities revolved around political and union issues.
He went on to narrate that on the said day while going home, he found some people at Westfield talking about the arrest of Solo Sandeng and others and when he asked where they were taken, he was told that they were at the PIU headquarters in Kanifing.

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Danso said he decided to go there with some security officers and upon arrival, he went to the PIU commander’s office after which Yankuba Badjie, the 1st accused, came in to the said office.
He said shortly after Solo Sandeng and 4 others were brought out and put on board two NIA pickups, the 3rd accused person (Saikou Omar Jeng) who was the director of operations asked him to escort them to Banjul and hand them over to the then deputy director general Louise Gomez (the 2nd accused person).
At the NIA, he said they found James Mendy, the man in charge of physical security who made a phone call to the 2nd accused and told him (PW5) that the 2nd accused said he should hand Solo and the group over to him (James).

He said after doing that, he left the NIA and headed back to PIU to hand over the pickups after which he went home.
Also testifying earlier was Sergeant Saidou Jallow of the police intervention unit, the fourth prosecution witness. He said on 14 April 2016, he was on duty and while at the front view of the barracks, he saw a police truck carrying some people into the campus.

He disclosed that he later knew that these people arrested were UDP protesters, adding that they (the protesters) were taken to the PIU hall and their names were taken by one sub-inspector D O Samba Bah, who brought the list for him to type.

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He informed the court that at that material time, the former inspector general of police Yankuba Sonko, the 1st accused Yankuba Badjie, deputy CMC Sarr and superintendent Fakebba were all in the PIU Kanifing office.
“As I was in my office, my junior man Lamin G Saidy came and told me that 5 out of those arrested have been taken to the NIA headquarters in Banjul by NIA officials,” he said.
At that point an objection was raised by defense Lawyer CE Mene, who said the witness was merely narrating hearsay but the court overruled his objection.

Pw4 further testified that out of the 5 taken to NIA, he could only remember the names of 4; Saderr Secka, Ousman Njie, Nogoi Njie and Ebrima Sandeng.
Hearing continues today.

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