TWO DETAINED SOLDIERS FINALLY RELEASED After 28 days in detention without trial

By Mustapha Jallow

Two members of the Gambia Army Forces (GFA), namely SSgt. Samba Jawo and SSgt. Draman Jahateh, who were detained for 28samba-jawo-draman-jahateh days by Military Police (MP) at the Yundum Barracks, were finally released yesterday, 26 December, 2016 around 7pm, family sources revealed.

Asked if there were any charges preferred against them or whether they have been asked to be reporting on bail at the Barracks, the source responded that they were both released unconditionally.

It could be recalled that a sister to SSgt Jawo, had walked into Foroyaa’s office on 14 December, 2016 and reported that her brother and his friend SSgt Jahateh were picked up at night in the Yundum Barracks.

“They were arrested on 30th November before the election and we have been calling his cell phone but it was switched off. At first we thought they were on standby as it is the case during the election period but were later told by one of his colleagues that our brother has been arrested and was seen being taken away by state agents,’’ she disclosed.

The sister revealed that she and other family members had visited the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) on numerous occasions to enquire about their loved ones, but were always told by the operatives that they do not know anything about the two soldiers.

Reports also revealed that SSgt. Jawo and SSgt. Jahateh were moved from the NIA headquarters to Yundum Barracks on Thursday, 15 December, around 4pm.

This development came in the wake of the publication of the detention of the soldiers by this medium on that same day, Thursday, 15 December. “Several attempts were made by us to access them at the NIA but without success. It was only on one Thursday evening when I received a phone call that our brother and Jahateh were returned to the Barracks and are currently in the custody of Military Police (MP),” she disclosed.

SSgt. Jawo and SSgt. Jahateh were held incommunicado at the NIA for 16 days before being handed over to the MP at the Barracks. Their continued detention contravened the Constitution which stipulates that a person detained should be released within 72 hours or taken to court.