Authorities in the Gambia are questioning a group of security officers of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) formerly National Intelligence Agency (NIA) who were arrested last weekend in connection with the murder of a former United Democratic Party (UDP) Organising Secretary, Ebrima Solo Sandeng.
Although police are yet to reveal the names of those arrested, a police spokesperson David Kujabi, told your JollofNews that ten officers were initially nicked by police who are looking at some new materials.
He added that two of the security officers have been questioned and released on police bail while remaining eight are in custody and helping with their investigations.
Solo Sandeng died on 15th April 2016 less than 24 hours after he was arrested with a dozen other activists for staging a brief but peaceful protest against the former regime of President Yahya Jammeh at Westfield junction, Serrekunda.
Eye-witnesses said Mr Sandeng and his associates arrived at the busy Westfield junction some 12 kilometres away from the capital, Banjul, during the afternoon rush hour and displayed a banner with the slogan “We Need Proper Electoral Reform”. They also chanted anti-government slogans and demanded Mr Jammeh’s resignation.
However soon after the protest began, they were arrested by a contingent of security officials and detained briefly at the Police Intervention Unit, Kanifing before being transferred to the feared National Intelligence Agency’s headquarters in Banjul.
Sheikh Omar Jeng, NIA’s former director of Operation, said in a sworn affidavit filed on 13th June 2016 in objection to an application made by Mr Sandeng’s lawyer for him to be produced in court whether dead or alive, that Mr Sandeng died during “the process of his arrest and detention”. He failed to disclosed the cause of the activist’s death.
Mr Jeng and eight other former NIA officers are currently standing trial for his murder.
The tiny West African nation is recovering from 22-year dictatorship by the Jammeh regime. As the Barrow administration is pushing ahead with a reconciliation agenda, a rising demand for justice from victims’ families continue to resonate across the country.