By Own Correspondent – The police have preferred charges against a group of 17 armed men believed to be rebels from the southern Senegalese region of Casamance.
They were arraigned on Wednesday before Principal Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court charged with possession of firearms without authority.
According to the particulars of offence, Yusupha Ceesay and 16 others sometime in October 2010 at Bulock and Bajana villages in the Western Region were found in possession of an assortment of arms of war and ammunitions without authority.
Yusupha Ceesay and Modou Lamin Badjie pleaded guilty to the charge, while Saku Jammeh, Zackaria Jatta, Tijan Camara, Mafuji Jarju, Abdoulie Sonko, Hatab Jatta, Abdou Badjie, Ebrima Jarju, Sang Sambou, Basiru Jammeh, Seedy Sanyang, Tumani Manga, Alasana Jarju and Aziz Kujabi pleaded not guilty.
The police prosecuting officer, Inspector Camara, objected to bail for the accused persons, and applied for an adjournment to prepare the prosecution witnesses and bring them before the court.
He told the court that the accused persons are gunmen believed to be members of rebel factions in the southern Senegalese region of Casamance and, therefore, granting them bail would increase fear in the society.
The prosecutor urged the court to remand the accused persons in custody, pending the outcome of the case.
He said with regard to the first and second accused persons, who pleaded guilty to the charge, the prosecution would present the facts before the court at the next adjournment date for sentencing.
Magistrate Nkea granted the prosecution’s application, and subsequently remanded in custody all the accused persons.
The case was adjourned to 22nd October 2010 for hearing.