By Tabora Bojang
An officer of the Police Intervention Unit posted at the Faraba sand quarry during the bloody June 18 riot has categorically denied firing live bullets, stressing that his riffle was in safe mode before it got missing when he was knocked unconscious in the melee that ensued.
“We did not retaliate, or fire any bullets during the stone fight,” he told the Commission of Enquiry, adding that during the terrible chaotic situation in the village, the PIU officers were over powered by the protesters, who threw stones and bottles at them in addition to burning their mattress.
The officer, whose name is withheld, said the whole trouble started when the protesters barred passage by six trucks loaded from the site, insisting that the trucks should return the sand since they are not allowed to mine on the site.
The PIU officer said the situation gained intensity as the villagers surrounded them and started stoning them.
“They destroyed glasses of trucks, took away the sponge from our guard post, burnt it and threw it back into the post. I tried running to the post to secure my belongings but I got hit by a stone on my neck and felt down and my riffle went missing,” the officer testified.
When asked to describe the sorts of weapons the protesters threw at them, the witness said they were stones and bottles but he said he did not see any gas canisters being thrown towards them.
The PIU officer said until now he is not aware of any deaths or injuries sustained by any demonstrators because of the scene.
Another officer who testified earlier claiming that he was injured in the melee, was asked to provide evidence of injuries he sustained during the incident which he did by providing an x-ray film, detailing his injuries and a picture of his hand and wrist, which were marked as exhibits before the commission.