By Alhagie F.S Sora
“It’s nearly 10 months now since my unpleasant encounter with the PIU personnel posted at the TDA on 18th September 2013 which I reported to the Police Human Rights office together with my uncle Kebba Jeng, who was equally maltreated by the police, but no positive feedback has been received yet,” lamented Magidi Sillah.
Mr. Sillah, who was a victim of torture at the hands of Police Intervention Unit (PIU) personnel at the Tourism Development Area (TDA), said since their humiliating encounter, the police Human Rights Unit is yet to provide them with any redress.
He explained that they first reported the incident to the said unit in 2013 when Commissioner Pa Silva was the officer in charge and later to ASP Momodou Lamin Sonko, who is now in charge. He said both officers gave them assurance that the matter would be handled judiciously and without fear or favour.
He said the officers, who are alleged to have tortured them, were even invited to the Unit in their presence and that the duty Sergeant responsible for the team at the time confirmed that he ordered their arrest and cut their dreadlocks hairs.
Mr. Sillah further explained that the officers were then asked to write their statements and to leave their phone numbers as they will be called when the investigation is finished.
It could be recalled that Foroyaa published the story of Magidi Sillah and Kebba Jeng, both residents of Churchill Town, who went to the Standard Chartered Bank Branch in Senegambia on 18 of September 2013 to withdraw some money in order to buy some uniforms for students.
It was reported that Sillah said at the time that the amount he wanted to withdraw was 50,000 dalasi and which the ATM machine could not provide in that early morning. He said they then decided to wait and eat something at a nearby restaurant until after the morning when the bank officials start their work for them to make the withdrawal.
He said it was while they were in the “Jass Café” when the PIU personnel came and put handcuffs on them and started dragging them into the street and kicking them. He said they were taken to their security office in cuffs as other onlookers took a video of the beatings with their mobile phones. He said the sergeant on duty forcibly shaved their ‘Rasta’ hairs and put them in the cell from 9 am to 9pm and were later released to go home without bail, but asked to report to the same place the following morning.
Mr. Sillah said when he visited the police last week Thursday, he met with ASP M. L. Sonko who, he said, asked him to come back the following week (this week) as he will be finding out the stage the matter has reached regarding the file.