By Kebba Jeffang
The Babylon case involving Mr. Lamin B. Jarju and twelve other accused persons all from Babylon village in the West Coast region, Thursday, 3rd July, 2014 proceeded at the Brikama magistrates’ court with testimonies given by two of the accused persons before Principal Magistrate Dayoh M. Small Dago.
This marked the end of the second and third defence witnesses’ evidence respectively after Alkalo Jarju testified three days ago as defence witness number one (DW1).
Chief Inspector Camara, police prosecutor represented the Inspector General of police whilst Lawyer Borry S. Touray appeared for all the accused persons.
When he was called into the witness box, the defence witness (DW2) identified himself as Ebrima Gassama. He denied the entire allegation levelled against him. He told the court that he is a handicapped and he was sick when he was arrested at Pa Jassey’s compound. He added that he was even vomiting at the time the officers entered and dragged him out of the house and took him away.
Under cross examination, the accused person admitted that he has similar case before a different magistrate of the same court but quick to add that they are all mere allegations. He said he doesn’t have the strength to cut 275 cashew trees; adding that they have just used power over him.
Sulayman Drammeh, the third accused person and also the third defence witness (DW3) told the court that he is a student at one college in Ziguinchor in Senegal. He said he came to the Gambia for a holiday on the 28th July, 2013 at Bundung in the Kanifing Municipality. He said his brother bought a compound in Babylon village, built it and asked him to go and stay there before the end of his holiday.
He said while in Babylon for just four days, he was sitting under the veranda reading his book, and he saw the first accused person, Lamin B. Jarju and Alagie Manneh in a vehicle when they were passing by.
“When they passed already, the last vehicle stopped and one military officer asked me if I know the Babylon Alkalo and I replied yes. He then told me ‘wooow!!’ you are the type of people we are looking for. I asked him what has happened and he responded that I should enter a vehicle. I insisted not to enter and he told me that it is a Presidential order. I told the officer that this is my first time in the Gambia and that I have no problem with the government,” said Mr. Drammeh. He adduced that the officer slapped him in his face.
At this point, he said another military officer also came out and hit him with the head of a gun until his tooth was broken. He was pointing at his broken tooth to the court. He added that he was handcuffed and placed in the vehicle.
“I did not know why I was arrested and they only told me that it is a Presidential order,” he said.
“I was never part of a group even outside the Gambia in my life not to talk of cutting 275 cashew trees. I only know the farm in question on the day the court visited the place on the trip. Even my co accused persons, I only know them during our detention,” testified DW3.
Under cross examination by the police prosecutor Camara, the witness reiterated that he was not part of the people who cut down 275 cashew trees on the farm of Francis Mendy.
At this juncture, the matter was adjourned to the following dates and times: on Monday, 7th July, 2014 from 2 to 3pm, on Tuesday.