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“I Saw Him Stabbing Himself” Court Heard In Westfield Bureau Murder Trial 

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Arona Tine escorted by police

By Landing Ceesay 

Isatou M. Barry, a member of the Gambia Police Force (GPF), testified in court that she saw Arona Tine, the defendant, stab himself with a knife after Fatoumatta Kargbo -the deceased fell to the ground.

Arona Tine is currently on trial for a single charge of murder, contrary to Section 187 of The Criminal Code.

The prosecution claims that on January 19, 2024, in Westfield, located in The Gambia’s Kanifing Municipality, Arona Tine intentionally stabbed Fatoumatta Kargbo with a knife, resulting in her death, thus committing a crime. Officer Barry, serving as the second witness for the prosecution, identified Arona Tine in court. She detailed her movements on the incident’s day, noting her visit to a GSM Mobile shop near Bloom Bank during Jummah prayers. It was then she observed Kargbo, bloodied and clad in orange, emerging from a Forex Bureau and subsequently collapsing.

“I went to the GSM mobile shop, and from there, I went to Bloom Bank, which was around Jummah Prayer. While I was standing outside Bloom Bank, I saw a lady (Fatoumatta Kargbo) coming out of a Forex Bureau, and the lady was wearing an orange dress. I saw her coming out, and her body was covered with blood,” she told the court. 

“Proceed and tell us what happened after you saw her (Fatoumatta Kargbo) body covered with blood,” Counsel A. Gibba, the Lawyer representing the State, asked the witness. 

“She (Fatoumatta Kargbo) fell to the ground, and people crowded her. And I saw Arona Tine holding a knife, wearing a jacket and a cross bag. Arona Tine was standing under the Veranda, and he stabbed himself,” The Police Officer told the court. 

When questioned about her findings regarding the knife, Isatou M. Barry informed the court that blood was present on its blade, while the handle bore a sea-green hue.

Officer Barry recounted directing Arona Tine to be secured within the Forex Bureau as a frenzied crowd moved to assault him, calling for his demise.

“When more people started coming speaking in Wolof, saying, “Where is he, and we should kill him.” That was the time the accused, Arona Tine, went back to the building. I instructed the boys standing at the door to lock it so that the accused would not escape. Before closing the door, there were students wearing nursing uniforms, they tried to take the deceased to the Westfield Clinic. 

“I then called my colleague (Class) Corporal Badjie of the PIU and I told him to inform his men that an armed robber came to HM Bureau De Change and stabbed a young lady, and she was dead. That was the time the PIU came and surveyed the scene, opened the door of the bureau, and picked up the accused person. The next day, I went to the Police Station to give my statement,” Officer Barry asserted. 

When questioned about the distance between Bloom Bank and the site of the incident, she informed the court that it was quite close, less than 30 meters away.

“Earlier on, you also indicated that you saw the accused (Arona Tine) and the deceased (Fatoumatta Kargbo) coming out of the building; apart from them, who else was seen coming out of the building.?” Counsel Gibba asked.  

“I have seen no other person coming out of the building,” the witness responded. 

“You equally indicated that the said Forex Bureau was locked until the PIU Officers arrived, when they arrive was there anyone else taken out from the building aside from the accused person?” Counsel Gibba asked. 

“There was no one else taking out apart from the accused person,” the witness responded. 

On why, she concluded that Fatoumatta Kargbo was dead when informing the PIU Officer, Isatou M. Barry, said the deceased was not moving. 

“When she (Fatoumatta Kargbo) fell down, she did not move, and the amount of blood that came out of her, I have never seen that come out of anyone before,” she told the court. 

The case was then adjourned to Tuesday for cross-examination. 

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