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Counsel Darboe: Anti-Crime Officers Threaten Bojang’s Life Over Weapon Location

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Ousainou Bojang leaving the court. (PhotoCredit Kexx Sanneh)

By Landing Ceesay 

In the ongoing trial of Ousainou Bojang, accused in the tragic deaths of two Police Intervention Unit (PIU) Officers, a startling revelation emerged from Counsel Lamin J. Darboe. Representing Bojang, Darboe informed the court that two Anti Crime Officers, Sub Inspector Jobe and Musa Bah, allegedly threatened Bojang with death if he didn’t disclose the whereabouts of the murder weapon.


This disclosure came during the cross-examination of Police Investigator Ebou Sowe in the voir dire (Trial within trial) of the Sukuta Jabang Traffic Lights murder case.


Counsel Darboe initiated the trial within a trial, expressing concerns about the circumstances under which Bojang’s statements were obtained. He suggested they involved coercion, including the use of drugs and physical abuse.
However, Sowe refuted these claims, asserting that Bojang was neither beaten nor drugged during his time at the Police Anti-Crime Unit from September 13th to 23rd, 2023.


During cross-examination, Darboe insisted that his client had indeed been subjected to beatings and death threats by two members of the Police Anti-Crime Unit.


Sowe confirmed that Bojang was indeed under police custody when he was taken to the Anti-Crime Unit, emphasizing his presence during Bojang’s interrogation by a panel of investigators.
Sowe identified members of the panel, including Chief Inspector Yero Saidy, Inspector Ceesay, Inspector Jamanka, Superintendent Lamin Cham, Boto Keita, and other officers routinely present.

He said at the panel’s interrogation of Ousainou Bojang, everyone present was either a Police Officer or another Security officer. 

“The 1st accused person (Ousainou Bojang) was interrogated by Police Officers without an Independent witness,” Counsel LJ Darboe asked the witness. 

“Yes, the first interrogation there was no independent witness present,” the witness told the court. 

The witness told the court that Ousainou Bojang confessed to the panel that he committed the crime at the Sukuta Jabang Traffic Lights. 

“Did any of you in that room tell him (Ousainou Bojang) that he need not say anything to that panel,” Counsel LJ Darboe asked the witness. 

“Yes, my lord, he has always been reminded of that, he need not say anything if he wishes,” the witness responded to Counsel LJ Darboe. 

“With all your meticulousness, you forget to mention that in your evidence in chief,” Counsel LJ Darboe told the witness. 

“I have always maintained that in my entire testimony, that the suspect (Ousainou Bojang) has always been informed that he has a right not to say anything,” the witness responded. 

Mr. Sowe told the court that he personally kept on reminding Ousainou Bojang that he needed not to say anything to the panel. 

“I am putting it to you that in the presence of Inspectors, Chief Inspectors, and Superintendents it will not be your place for such a Junior officer like yourself to assume that role,” Counsel LJ Darboe told the witness. 

“My lord, I was not in that panel as a mere spectator. I mostly played a supervisory role,” the witness told the court.  

Asked at what time he commenced taking the cautionary statements of Ousainou Bojang on the 15th of September 2023, Mr. Sowe said his engagement with Ousainou Bojang started at around 12 mid-day and he started taking his statements around 1 pm.  

About the Independent Witness (Alieu Cham), Mr. Sowe told the court that he met him in the Anti Crime Complex around 12 mid-day. 

He said the Independent Witness Alieu Cham, is not a security officer. 

“Anti Crime is not a social complex, what was he (Alieu Cham) doing there,” Counsel LJ Darboe asked the witness. 

“Anti Crime is a Public Institution. What he told me was that he had issues to sort out,” the witness responded.  

“As an investigator, you should know what was he sorting out at Anti Crime,” Counsel LJ Darboe told the witness. 

“I do not know. I was more particular that he has no issue with the actual matter,” the witness told the court.  

The witness insisted that Alieu Cham, the Independent Witness was brought there by superintendent Lamin Cham, a member of the panel from Sukuta to be a so-called independent witness. 

“So Alieu Cham, the independent witness was present for 1 hour before you commenced recording the cautionary statements,” Counsel LJ Darbpe asked the witness.  

“Before the commencement of taking the cautionary statements, it was less than 20 minutes,” the witness said. 

“But you said that you started recording the actual cautionary statement at 1 p.m. pm but you started the process at 12 mid-day,” Counsel LJ Darboe told the witness. 

“My lord, the entire process started around 12 mid-day, and the independent witness has to be there,” the witness said.

Mr. Sowe said the accused (Ousainou Bojang) had to narrate his version of the story before his statement was recorded. 

When asked whether he had audio or video recordings of Ousainou Bojang while obtaining his statement, Mr. Sowe told the court that he did not. 

“Did you ask the 1st accused (Ousainou Bojang) to call any of his family members,” Counsel LJ Darboe asked the witness. 

“I did not, because that would have defeated the purpose of an independent witness,” Mr. Sowe told the court. 

“Is the purpose not fairness and transparency instead of organizing your agents to come and act as independent witnesses,” Counsel LJ Darboe told the witness. 

Mr. Sowe insisted that the Police do not have agents who act as Independent witnesses. 

“I am putting it to you that the public would have more confidence in such an open process than the secret process when the accused person is in custody,” Counsel LJ Darboe told the witness. 

“There was no secret process, the laydown procedures were duly followed,” the witness responded. 

“Is it part of your laydown procedures to beat the 1st accused (Ousainou Bojang)?” Counsel LJ Darboe asked the witness. 

“Beaten has never been part of the procedures, that is why he (Ousainou Bojang) was never beaten in the entire process,” the witness told the court. 

When asked whether he knew Musa Bah at the Anti-Crime Unit, the witness told the court that he did not know anybody at Anti-Crime called Musa Bah. 

However, when asked whether he knew S. I Jobe at the Anti Crime Unit, and the witness responded affirmatively. 

Asked whether he could recall Friday night on the 15th of September 2023, the witness responded affirmatively. 

“Was it not the night Musa Bah and S.I Jobe mercilessly beat the 1st accused (Ousainou Bojang),” Counsel LJ Darboe 

“I do not know any beating that S.I Jobe had done to the 1st accused as he was not a member of the investigation team,” the witness told the court. 

“Was it not the case that S.I Jobe and Musa Bah asked the 1st accused (Ousainou Bojang) whether he knows the junglers in your presence,” Counsel LJ Darboe asked the witness.  

“I have never witnessed such my lord. I do not know anyone at Anti Crime Unit who goes by the name Musa Bah,” the witness told the court. 

“Was it not the case that this Musa Bah of the Anti Crime Unit told the 1st accused that unless he told them where the gun is, he will be killed,” Counsel LJ Darboe told the witness. 

“My lord, like I said I do not know anyone at Anti Crime Unit who goes with the name Musa Bah much more to witness such an encounter,” the witness insisted. 

“Now, was it not the same night on 14th of September you went to the 1st accused’s (Ousainou Bojang) sell around midnight to 1 am and took him out of there to somewhere in your Anti Crime Complex,” Counsel LJ told the witness. 

However, the witness insisted that that did not happen. 

“I am putting it to you that on that night you offered him (Ousainou Bojang) coffee and that coffee was kind of drugged that sent him to sleep within 5-10 minutes,” Counsel LJ Darboe told the witness. 

The witness again insisted that that never happened. 

The witness however told the court that on the 13th of September 2023, when he wanted to obtain a statement from Ousainou Bojang, he told him that he was tired and needed to rest.

The witness said Ousainou Bojang was never beaten or drugged.  

The witness said It is true that on the 13th of September 2023 was a very exhaustive day for their investigative processes, and therefore the statement was recorded at that time. 

“On that day you came with empty cautionary and voluntary papers and asked him (Ousainou Bojang) to thump print those empty papers,” Counsel LJ Darboe told the witness. 

The witness insisted that the only statement recorded on that day was the one Ousainou Bojang narrated that he was tired and he needed to time to rest before making a statement. 

The witness said that was the only one recorded as his statement. 

“Didn’t the 1st accused (Ousainou Bojang) tell you that he wanted to record his own statement,” Counsel LJ Darboe asked the witness. 

“My lord, I informed him that he has the right to make his own statement but he opted for me to write his statement for him,” the witness insisted. 

The witness said Ousainou Bojang never requested to write his own statement even though he informed him that he was literate. 

“The accused person also told you that he is literate, why did you refuse him the opportunity to sign the statements,” Counsel LJ Darboe asked. 

“The cautionary statement is either sign or thump print,” the witness told the court. 

“I am putting it to you that someone who is literate is better for him to sign and the Police, in this case, to forced him to thump print,” Counsel LJ Darboe told the witness. 

“He was never forced to do anything,” the witness insisted. 

“And it is true that from the entire process, from 13th of September 2023 to 23rd of September 2023, no part of that process was either audio recorded or video recorded. Is that correct,” Counsel LJ Darboe asked. 

“I personally never recorded his statement in either audio or video recording,” the witness told the court. 

Counsel LJ Darboe further told the witness that the purpose of an independent witness is to safeguard the rights of persons under Police Custody. 

In response, the witness told the court that it is correct which is why Ousainou Bojang’s right was fully observed. 

“I am putting it to you that the best safeguard is audio or video recording,” Counsel LJ Darboe told the witness. 

“My lord I did not know any obligatory rule or regulations that says accused persons are to be recorded either audio or video,” the witness responded. 

Meanwhile, Counsel Lamin K. Mbodge for the second accused person applied for the court to make an order so that the witness could provide the formation diary or station of Anti Crime dated on the 13th of September 2023. 

Hon. Justice Ebrima Jaiteh then granted the application and ordered the witness to provide the court with the said diary. 

Hon. Justice Jaiteh then adjourned the case to today for continuation. 

Background of the Case 

On September 21, 2023, Ousainou and Amie Bojang made their initial appearance before Principal Magistrate Omar Jabang of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court, facing charges related to the shooting incident at Sukuta Jabang Traffic Lights, which resulted in the tragic deaths of two PIU officers and severe injury to another on September 12, 2023.

The police had initially leveled four charges against the accused, including two murder charges, an act of terrorism charge, and an accessory after the fact to murder charge. Subsequently, Principal Magistrate Omar Jabang transferred the murder trial to the Special Criminal Division of the High Court of The Gambia.

On October 12, 2023, the case was presented before Hon. Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court of The Gambia.

On October 19, 2023, the State brought six charges against Ousainou Bojang, the prime suspect in the deaths of two Police Intervention Unit (PIU) officers, and a single charge against his elder sister, Amie Bojang.

On October 24, 2023, both Ousainou Bojang and Amie Bojang entered pleas of not guilty to the charges

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