(JollofNews) – Authorities in the Gambia are examining the human remains exhumed on Thursday believed to be that of Solo Sandeng, organising secretary of the United Democratic Party (UDP).
Mr Sandeng was killed while being detained at the National Intelligence Agency’s (NIA) headquarters in April 2016 shortly after he was arrested for leading a protest against the former Gambian regime of Yahya Jammeh.
Sheikh Omar Jeng, NIA’s director of Operation at the time, said he died during “the process of his arrest and detention”.
But a death certificate issued at the Emergency Unit of Serrekunda Hospital and signed on behalf of one Dr Lamin Sanyang said, he died from dyspnea [difficult or laboured breathing], shock and respiratory failure.
Although the Jammeh regime had admitted his dead, which it said occurred while he was being interrogated, it has refused to return his remains to his family for burial.
However, since the demise of the Jammeh regime in January, police were force to reopen the case resulting in the arrest of senior security officials.
Police spokesman Foday Conta told local journalists that they were able to locate the remains somewhere near Tanji village, Kombo South based on the statements of the detainees
He said the body will undergo forensic examination at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul.
It is not yet clear how exactly Mr Sandeng died. But his fellow detainees said he was subjected to hours of severe torture including beatings and kicking by security officers wearing black balaclava and gloves.
According to court documents signed by Nogoi Njie, Mr Sandeng was bleeding all over his body and was in severe pain the last time she saw him at the NIA headquarters.
“While I was sat in a room after I was mercilessly beaten by the men, Solo Sandeng was brought in. The men have already beaten him and his body was all swollen and he was in severe pain,” she said in an affidavit.
“I then asked him to come close to me away from the urine area where he was dumped. When he got to me, he laid flat on the floor and I began to massage his head and body. He was bleeding all over. He then started to sleep and I sat up.”
She added: “A few minutes later, the cell door was opened and some men walked in and took Solo away. I later heard him screaming. Later while the men were taking me for interrogations, I saw Solo’s body on the grass next to a table. He was stripped stark naked and was bleeding profusely. He was groaning in pain and could hardly move his head. After I was subjected to more beatings in the courtyard, I saw the security officers dragged Solo’s body behind a building where he was again subjected to more beatings and I could hear him groaning.”