Wednesday, December 6

First Witness Takes the Stand as Alleged Cop-Killer Pleads Not Guilty

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Ousainou and Amie Bojang at court

By Landing Ceesay 

The State has called its first witness in the trial of Ousainou Bojang, the alleged killer of two Police Intervention Unit (PIU) officers. Bojang pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, as did his elder sister, Amie Bojang.

The witness, Ismaila Bojang, is a member of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF). He testified that he was at the Sukuta-Jabang traffic lights on the day of the shooting and saw the events unfold.

Ismaila Bojang informed the court that he could remember the events of September 12, 2023, at the Sukuta-Jabang traffic lights.

Bojang, who is a member of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), testified that he, along with Bakary R. Jabbi and Omar S. Jallow, had been selected by the GAF for overseas training in Turkey.

The witness further stated that due to their overseas training commitment, he regularly engaged in physical exercise at the beach with Bakary R. Jabbi and Omar S. Jallow.

“So on that faithful day, upon returning from the beach. We had a lift that dropped us at Sukuta traffic lights Junction. After alighting from the vehicle, we were supposed to buy Afra, I gave money to Omar S. Jallow to go and buy Afra, Bakary R. Jabbi and I crossed the road to the other side and sat on a veranda of a building waiting for Omar to return with the Afra. At the time, we were sitting behind the Police Officers facing the direction of Jabang. 

“Upon the return of Omar with Afra, subsequently, we had a gunshot. We thought it was a negligent discharge. We drew our attention to others and saw a policeman lying on the ground with his rifle. The second Police Officer was attempting to beat the shooter, the shooter then shot him in the chest. That was the time I got out of the veranda running to rescue the police officers. When the female police officer got up and attempted to run, she was also shot. I was running with a speed to the scene. That’s the time the shooter ran towards Sukuta,” Ismaila Bojang told the court. 

Ismaila then testified in court that, at that moment, he, along with Omar S. Jallow, and Bakary R. Jabbi chased after the assailant while shouting “thief, thief, thief.”

The witness recounted that, as they reached the roundabout, the shooter abruptly turned around. Ismaila sensed that the shooter intended to fire at him but quickly positioned himself on the right-hand side, at which point he heard a gunshot.

The witness further testified that the assailant proceeded to flee towards Sukuta.

“Subsequently, he bent the first junction at the right-hand side. After running for some meters, the shooter turned around again, then I squeezed to my right-hand side and heard the shot again. That’s how I continued to pursue him, estimated 300 to 400 meters. I saw somebody coming towards us, I shouted again, thief, thief, thief, catch him. He subsequently stopped for about 2 to 3 seconds when I started shouting thief, thief.  

“By then it was dark and I had very poor visibility. My continued shouting thief was meant to have the crowd’s attention. Later on, I saw on my left-hand side, I lost sight of him, I met someone and the person told me that he jumped the fence. I jumped the fence and I didn’t see anything. Then I went in the opposite direction, I saw nothing there also. I attempted to jump the other fence to follow him, but my colleague Bakary R. Jabbi advised me not to do so because the shooter was armed,” he said. 

Ismaila reported that upon his return to the crime scene with Bakary R. Jabbi, they discovered that the Police Officers had been evacuated. 

He went on to explain to the court that they attempted to secure the crime scene and wait for the police officers to arrive, but this proved difficult due to a large crowd encroaching in the area.

During their search of the crime scene, Ismaila and his colleague Bakary R. Jabbi came across two empty bullet cases. Ismaila testified that these bullets were from a pistol, which was clearly visible in the hand of the shooter.

When asked to provide a description of the shooter he had pursued, Ismaila informed the court that the individual was taller than him and had muscular legs. 

The witness also added that the shooter was dressed in a yellowish-colored shirt and three-quarter trousers.

Under cross-examination, the witness told the court that they had handed over the empty bullet cases to the Police. 

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.

 Initially, the police had lodged 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. Subsequently, the state presented its first prosecution witness.

 The case has been adjourned to November 7, 2023, for the cross-examination of the first prosecution witness and the continuation of the hearing.