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City of Banjul
Tuesday, January 26, 2021

I didn’t stop at checkpoint, taxi driver tells court

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Mustapha Njie made the comment yesterday as he opened his defence over allegations that he caused the death of Ya Binta Jarju after he failed to stop at a checkpoint which led to a frantic car chase by men of the joined security task force. The incident is said to have taken place in Manjai Kunda in the Kanifing Municipality around 11pm on the night of Saturday 7th March, 2015.

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Testifying, Mr Njie said: “I live in Kanifing South [but] currently I am remanded at Mile 2 prison. I am a driver by profession [and] on the 7 day of March between 8 to 11pm while I was driving a Mercedes Benz with two passengers in the vehicle that is, Sulayman Bah [PW1] and Ya Binta jarju (the deceased). I didn’t have the driving license that was why I failed to stop at the checkpoint, [and that] was the time the security officers shot at my vehicle. They boarded their vehicle and pursued our vehicle then I heard the warning shot but I don’t know how many gunshots were fired. My vehicle was later stopped by a flower tree. Before I was stopped by a flower tree, a shot was fired which caused the death of Ya Binta Jarju.

“I went to pack the vehicle… I knew the lady died I came out of the vehicle with PW1 (Sulayman Bah). Sulayman Bah told the military officers to assist to remove Ya Binta from the vehicle but they refused. Then the military officers boarded their vehicle and left us there with Ya Binta Jarju. The lady while she was in the vehicle was looking behind that was the time she was wounded on her forehead. That was the time I was arrested by men.”

Under cross examination, the defense lawyer, EA Gomez asked the accused about who arrested him. Replying, Njie said: “I don’t know because at that time they were not in uniform.”  Counsel further asked: “[Did] Ya Binta jarju complain [about] any illness before the incident?” “Ya Binta did not complain [about] any illness before the incident, Njie replied.

The prosecution led by Sergeant Colley and Inspector Fadera, asked Mr Njie whether he had been hired by Sulayman Bah and Ya Binta Jarju on the day of the incident. Mr Njie admitted that he was hired by Sulayman and Binta but no price was agreed upon because ‘we are friends’. 

“It is also correct that there was a security checkpoint before the petrol station?” the prosecutor asked. Replying, he said: “yes”. The prosecutors also asked whether Njie knew the penalty for not having a driving license and the punishment for failing to stop at security checkpoint. The accused (Njie) said he did not know.  “Because you failed to, that was why the security pursued your vehicle ?” the prosecutor further asked. Replying, Njie said: “yes”. Mr Njie however said he was not aware of being chased. He said he also did not know how many gunshots were fired by the officers. The prosecutor continued: “Is it true that when officers chased you. they stopped in front of your vehicle and you took a turn into another street?” Mr Njie said: “Yes”. The accused said he has been driving for 15 years and that he was not stopped at any checkpoint on the day of the incident. 

The case was adjourned to May 21 for adoption of briefs.  

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