By Gambian Correspondent – The Banjul Magistrates’ Court yesterday transferred the alleged murder case involving five officers of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) to the Special Criminal Court of the High Court in Banjul.
The trial magistrate further ordered the accused persons to be kept at the Mile 2 Central Prison pending their arraignment at the Special Criminal Court.
The suspects: Eku Grant, Ebou Lowe, Abdoulie E. Jallow, Mattar Sey Jawo and Alieu Conteh, all said to be NDEA officers, are alleged to have tortured one Cherno Alieu Suwareh, which led to his death.
When the case was called, the prosecuting officer, Sgt Manga, told the court that since the alleged offence is a capital offence, the prosecution was applying for the case to be transferred to the Special Criminal Court division at the High Court in Banjul.
He said the accused were charged with conspiracy to commit murder and murder.
Meanwhile, at a press briefing held yesterday at police headquarters in Banjul, the Police public relations officer ASP Yerro Mballow, said the incident happened on 25 March 2011 at Bakau Sanchaba, when a team of NDEA officers went to the house of the deceased, where a search was conducted and some suspected cannabis found.
He said in the course of arresting the late Cherno Alieu Suwareh alias “che” there was a push and pull between the deceased and the officers, who beat him up and as a result the deceased sustained serious injuries on his head.
“Suwareh was subsequently arrested and taken to the NDEA main office for interrogation,” Police PRO Mballow told reporters.
“During the course of the investigation, there was an eyewitness who informed the police that before they whisked away the deceased to the NDEA main office in Banjul, he saw the officers seriously beating Suwareh with a baton, which also caused some injuries,” the police spokesperson continued.
After eleven days, Suwareh claimed that he was feeling sick, and was taken to the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH) in Banjul for treatment, where he was admitted for a few days before he died, according to ASP Mballow.