(Foroyaa) - Reliable information gathered by Foroyaa has it that five detainees who were or are still are members of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) namely, Warrant Officer Class (WO2), Bai Lowe, Staff Sergeant Abdoulie Jallow (alias “Jalino”), Lance Corporal Sang Mendy, Lance Corporal Anthony Mendy and Ex-Lance Corporal Abdoulie Sarr, a former soldier are currently held in detention incommunicado at the Mile II Central Prison for almost a year without trial. All five men were reportedly arrested sometime in July 2010.
According to the Family of WO2 Bai Lowe, a native of Fass Njaga Choi, in the Lower Niumi District of North Bank Region, was permanently stationed at the Kanilai Military post as one of the heads of a Special Unit of GAF. The family said they last communicated with him in late June 2010, since then they have never heard any thing about him, until a couple of months ago when they heard that he is in detention at the Mile II Central Prison. They said they have tried all avenues to have access to him at Mile II Prison but to no avail. The family indicated that any time they visited Mile II Prison to have access to him the authorities there would tell them to visit at another time. The family said they are desperate to have official confirmation of his whereabouts and condition.
The family of Staff Sergeant Abdoulie Jallow (alias “Jalino”), who hails from Giboro Kuta, in the Kombo East District of West Coast Region, said he went missing since the summer of 2010. They said they only heard that he is being detained at the Mile II Central Prison. They stated that they have tried to have access to him at his place of detention, but their efforts bore no fruits as the authorities always denied custody of him. They said they are not aware of any charges against him in any court of law.
The family of Lance Corporal Sang Mendy, a native of Tumani Tenda, in the Kombo East District said he was reportedly missing from his guard post at Kanilai village since July 2010. They said they could not establish the reason for his disappearance, but later realised that he is in custody at Mile II Prison. The family indicated that they are not aware of any charges against him since his arrest.
According to the family of Lance Corporal Anthony Mendy, an indigene of Kandongu Village, in Foni Bintang District, they heard of his arrest and subsequent detention from his colleagues in the Force after a long search. The family said it took months before they could establish his whereabouts. They said they gathered information from some of his colleagues that he was arrested from Kanilai and is now being held at the Mile II Central Prison. They said they have visited the prison on several occasions to see him, but the prison authorities would not allow them access. They asserted that they could not also get any explanation from the prison authorities on the denial of access to him. They said they have constantly visited the prison to have access to him, but to no avail.
The family of ex-Lance Corporal Abdoulie Sarr, a native of Mbollet-Ba Village , in the Lower Niumi District of North Bank Region, said the dismissed soldier was arrested at his residence in Banjul at the early hours of 14 July 2010. The family said Sarr had joined the Army on 4 February 2001, and posted as State Guard up to 8 June 2010, when he was discharged from the Force. They said he has already acquired a job with Gam Petroleum Company and was to commence work a week before his arrest. The family indicated that the dismissed soldier received a phone call at around 1:30am, from an unknown person demanding to know his location. They said Sarr told the caller that he was at his residence in Banjul and within half an hour there was a knock on the door. They said upon opening the door, four armed men appeared in military uniform. They said they recognize the four men as members of State Guard Unit headed by one Lieutenant Buba Bojang. They said Lieutenant Bojang told Sarr that he was under arrest on the orders of the then State Guard Commander Brigadier General Lamin Bojang.
The family said he was told that the reason for his arrest was that his half brother Musa Sarr, also a soldier, had a problem at his guard post in Kanilai and could not be traced. The family said since that day they never set their eyes on him, but only heard that he is being detained at Mile II Central Prison. They indicated that they are not aware of any charges against him neither was he taken before any Court of Law. The family questioned how Sarr could be linked to the problem of his half brother. They said the run away soldier was staying with his family at a separate place from them and has not visited them since his brother was discharged from the army.
The families of all five men said they are not aware of any charges against their loved ones and pleaded with the concerned authorities to release them from custody.
The Position of the Army PRO
According to the GAF PRO, Lt Omar Bojang no army personnel is under detention at the Central Prison at Mile 2. He said the persons mentioned in the article are not current members of the Gambia Armed Forces.
The law is clear. No one should be detained for more than 72 hours without appearing before the courts or be released. Charge them or release otherwise the government will continue to be accused of flouting the constitution and the laws of the land.