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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Policeman tells court how 3YJ members were rearrested

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By Alagie Manneh

The second prosecution witness in the sedition trial of political activist, Yankuba Darboe, has revealed that the riot police that re-arrested members of the Three Years Jotna leadership were instructed.

Cadet officer Demba Mbaye told a magistrates’ court in Banjul that on 21 February while on duty together with a few of his colleagues, chief superintendent Pa Alieu Jawara briefed them that the 3YJ executive were going to be discharged.

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“He told us that once they come out of the court, we should arrest them and bring them to serious crimes office [police headquarters], the witness said.

 According to the cadet officer, who appeared in civilian clothes, it was after those instructions that they went and thronged outside the court.

“We went to the Banjul Magistrates’ court and waited outside for the 3YJ to come out of court and, as soon as they came out, we arrested all of them,” he said.

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He testified that the police placed intelligence officers in the court to follow and monitor proceedings, and feed the information to the waiting riot police.

“When they came out,” he continued, “there was a little shop next to the court house and that’s where I was standing. When the 3YJ leaders started coming out of court, I saw my colleagues going towards the entrance and that’s when I joined them and we started re-arresting them one after the other and took them to the serious crimes office.”

He further told the court presided over by magistrate Seedy Jobarteh, that while they were arresting Abdou Njie, Sheriffo Sonko, and Bakary Camara, the trio shouted that they will not stop protesting until President Barrow leaves power.

He continued: “Yankuba Darboe, is the first person arrested and taken to serious crimes. When we got to the [serious crimes] office, the OC [Pa Alieu] said we should escort them to his office and that he wants to talk to them. [But] there was a lot of noise and the OC wanted to calm the tension. The OC called me and said he is going to the CMC to brief him, but that he wanted me to be in the office with the 3YJ people and listen to everything they are going to say so that I may inform him when he returns. While I was there, I heard Yankuba Darboe, the accused person advising his people that they should not accept police bail; that they should tell them [the police] to take all of them [3YJ members] to Mile II or drop charges and release them. He told them that if they take them to Mile II prison and later ask them to go to court, they should refuse until they got released and all charges dropped.”

“From there, I went home but while I was on my way home, I saw a social media video of the accused person [Yankuba Darboe] using abusive language and insulting [the judiciary]. [In the video, he was saying that] if they want, they can take us to their Kangaroo courts before their judges’ mothers’ vagina,” the cadet officer told the court. 

Mr. Darboe is answering charges of sedition after he made torrid outbursts in a Facebook video condemning the re-arrest and re-trial of him and his fellow members of 3YJ. He denied any wrongdoing.

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