By Mafugi Ceesay
Major Wassa Camara, the soldier in charge of Kudang post widely alleged to have been an active officer in the violent quelling of the April 2000 student riot in the provinces, yesterday denied giving orders for the arrest and torture of the students.
A former adjutant in Farafenni who was in charge of Kudang and Basse military posts, Camara said he received a call from CO Captain Babucarr Keita and Babucarr Jatta, former CDS talking about a student demonstration in the Greater Banjul Area and that they should be on standby and wait for further instructions.
He said based on information gathered from intelligence, they were informed that students were having stones and sticks.
He recalled that when they arrived at the Jangjangbureh crossing, the ferry was moved and tied at one side.
He admitted all of them were carrying AK-47 with live ammunitions and each soldier was having magazines carrying 120 rounds.
Camara added that no order of operations was given to them, neither did he know whether their Commander Captain Keita gave them detailed operation orders.
He said when they crossed the river, they found fire lit in different locations and they were able to chase some students who were about to burn the market but they were were too late to save the police station which was burnt.
The witness further testified that Jangjanbureh Gamtel post was also vandalised but they were able to control students through double patrols which prevented them from breaking into the prisons.
On whether he was embarrassed that his men participated in the torture of students, Camara admitted seeing students being beaten but he said he had ordered the soldiers to stop.
On the casualties at Brikamaba, Camar said the police should have investigated.
He said he had asked both Gray Njie and Corporal Camara about the casualtiesand both of them said they did not fire their weapons.
Major Camara would appear before the Commission to talk about his own torture by soldiers of Gambia National Army in the wake of his involvement in an alleged coup attempt in 2006.