By Mafugi Ceesay
A former lance corporal of The Gambia Army has admitted killing two and injuring several others during the April 2000 mass student demonstration.
Abdou Njie alias ‘Giri’ appeared before the TRRC in connection with the killing, arrest and torture of students during the riots.
The demo erupted after the students felt the government was unwilling to investigate the death of one Ebrima Barry from torture by Fire Service officers and the reported rape of Binta Manneh. Both Barry and Manneh were students.
Njie, 49, who was based in Farafenni Barracks said they were told to stop the students from destroying properties as had happened in Serekunda.
He said early April 11th, they went to the school to pacify the students but things degenerated with the students stoning them.
“Our corporal asked us to leave the school and while we were running to the police station, the students crowd became large and our corporal ordered us to fire at them,” the witness said.
He said they started shooting the students with the blank bullets.
“When I checked my blanks, I realised that they were finished then I connected the live rounds. I was firing in the air and I later heard two people died.
It was then I realised that I had killed people.
I cannot remove myself from those who killed them but I fired in the air.
I did not shoot directly at the people; I was shooting into the air,” the witness said.
The witness said he was the one who killed Sainey Nyabally and Ousman Sabally leaving seven injured.
He later agreed that he pointed the gun at the students.
He said the firing happened around the Gamtel offices and the students numbered about 500. He said the students burnt vehicle tyres.
“The students were stoning for a long time. They would have overcome us and that was why we used our weapon because we did not have any other option,” he said.
The witness told the Commission that no stone touched him.
He said he fired at the students at his own discretion.
Njie said he also participated in the beating of the students at the Brikamaba Police Station.
He apologised and sought forgiveness from the families of the two students he had killed.
Abdou Njie said he was born on 15th August 1970 in Kerr Ardo village in the Baddibus.