Ousainou and Amie Bojang
By Landing Ceesay
Bakary R. Jarju, the second prosecution witness (PW2) in the Sukuta Traffic Light PIU officer shooting deaths trial, testified in court that the shooter was wearing a kaftan. This contradicts the testimony of the first prosecution witness.
“The shooter I saw is a tall guy, his skin color I can’t jusfty. He wore a kaftan, the color of the kaftan I can’t justify. He is a bit slim and wears a covered shoes. What I mean by a covered shoe is the kind of shoe that covers up to your ankle,” PW2 told the court when asked to identify the shooter as an eyewitness.
Ismaila Bojang, the first prosecution witness, testified that the shooter was wearing a yellowish T-shirt and three-quarter trousers, and was bowlegged.
Bakary R. Jarju, the second prosecution witness, testified that he, Bojang, and Omar Jallow went for training at the Senegambia beach on the day of the shooting incident. He said that they were selected to go for a special training in Turkey for a period of one month, which they successfully completed and returned from on October 23, 2023.
Jarju further testified that after the training at the Senegambia beach, they had a lift to Sukuta Traffic Light Junction on their way back home after Maghrib prayers. They alighted at Sukuta Jabang Traffic Lights and decided to buy dinner.
“We sent one boy by the name Omar Jallow to buy Afra for us. We cross to the other side of the road. When I said the other side of the road, the road is divided into two. So when we crossed to the other side, we stood on a veranda behind three police officers. These 3 police officers—the first guy was on the left, the other guy was in the middle, and the lady was on the far right, and they sat on a chair.
“Within these police officers, the police officer with the rifle, an AK-47 to be specific, was at the center. While we were under that veranda, I heard a gunshot. Immediately I heard a gunshot, and I turned in that direction. I saw the guy with an AK-47 down. What came to my mind was that I thought it was a negligent discharge. I saw the other Police who sat on the left-hand side standing up. So when he stood, there was a shooter. How do I know there was a shooter because he wanted to take the AK-47. He (the shooter) was scrambling with the other police officer, but he shot the police officer,” he said.
Witness 2 (PW2) testified that he heard three gunshots fired from a distance. He described the shooter as firing at the police officer with the AK-47, then firing at the officer on the left-hand side, and then firing at the officer on the far right, who was a female officer.
PW2 also testified that the shooter took a step away from the female officer and fired another shot at her before running to the Sukuta Traffic Lights roundabout.
PW2 stated that the scene was crowded at the time and that the shooter opened fire again. He testified that he heard the sound of a pistol and that he knew it was a pistol because he is a trained soldier and has been taught how to differentiate sounds.
“The sounds of a pistol and an AK-47 are different. After firing that shot, he just ran and bent on the right-hand side. So we started chasing him, Ismaila Bojang, Omar Jallow and I. So we chased him for some meters, and he released a shot, to whom I don’t know. We continued pursuing him, and he turned again and fired a shot. But immediately he turned, I saw him and told Ismaila Bojang to take cover. Because if someone is a meter away from you with a pistol, and you suspect that the person may shoot at you, all you need to do is go behind to cover, that was why we used that fence to cover.
“We continued following him, and he went and entered an incomplete building, which is somehow bushy. There is no electricity system there. I told Ismaila Bojang, let’s try this fence as cover. Ismaila said let’s follow him there. I told him to stop, and I told him we are not armed, and for him (the shooter), he is armed. Secondly, his bullets are exhausted, if we enter there, it could be dangerous for us because we are not armed,” PW2 testified.
PW2 told the court that he told Ismaila Bojang the area was dark, and they couldn’t see the shooter’s exact location. That’s why they went back to the crime scene to collect evidence, such as the type of weapon the shooter used.
PW2 said they used their phone flashlights to search for evidence, and they found two empty bullet cases. He picked up one case, and Ismaila Bojang picked up the other.
PW2 explained that a round has four main components: the primer, empty case, propellant powder, and bullet. When fired, the bullet is the only component that exits the gun, while the empty case is ejected.
“Immediately, I picked up the empty bullet case, and I told him (Ismaila Bojang) that it is a live round. What I mean by live round is the one that kills or harms. Immediately I saw the empty bullet cases, I knew it was a live round. Because the bullet was not there, the bullet was gone. So within that time, there was an officer. I don’t know his rank, but his surname is Sowe. So he said to me, please soldier talk to me, but I insisted. Why I insisted was, he was in civil clothes; I did not know he was a police officer,” he said.
When questioned about how the Sowe individual realized he was a soldier, the witness informed the court that the revelation occurred when soldiers from the Infantry Battalion arrived at the scene.
PW2 testified that a PIU officer had also accompanied the Sowe individual to the crime scene, and it was then that he informed them of their military status.
Furthermore, PW2 shared with the court that upon revealing to the police officer that they were soldiers, the police officer disclosed his own identity as a CID officer.
It was at this point that PW2 said he extended his apologies, as he had previously been unaware of the police officer’s status.
PW2 explained that the police officer subsequently requested a conversation about the incident, to which PW2 agreed.
“I acknowledge, he (CID) said to me that people are too many people here; let’s go to the pickup. His pickup is a white pickup. He said to me what happened. I told him, can you please help me with water? After drinking, I explained to him that we were just coming from Senegambia when we heard a gunshot. I told him I did not know where the shooter came from, we heard the sound of the weapon when the shooter was firing at the police officer. So that was when I handed those empty bullet cases to Omar Jallow, and he handed them over to Sowe,” he said.
When asked to describe the shooter, the witness told the court that the shooter is a tall guy.
“The shooter I saw is a tall guy, his skin color I can’t jusfty. He wore a kaftan, the color of the kaftan I can’t justify. He is a bit slim and wears a covered shoes. What I mean by a covered shoe is the kind of shoe that covers up to your ankle. It was Around 9 onwards, my priority was to know the weapon system the shooter was having, the description I mentioned is the only thing I can identify him.
“Although it was nighttime, but these police officers sat under a light. Where these police officers were and where we were, it is approximately 20 to 25 meters. So that is why I was able to see what was happening because of the lighting system, ” PW2 told the court when asked to identify the shooter as an eyewitness.
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.