EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Commander of The Gambia Police Force Anti-Crime Unit has told the TRRC in his Monday testimony that his lies before the Commission about the April 2000 students’ demonstration was an effort by the police to ‘mislead’ the public about the incident that led to the killing of fourteen people.
Gorgi L Mboob denied as a police corporal at the time, that he and other Officers of the Police Intervention Unit forced their way into the St Augustine High School in Banjul to attack teachers and fire on students.
In an attempt to corroborate his story in April 2000 incident, Mr Mboob maintained that he went into St Augustine as a shortcut from a football field via Tobacco Road and not to attack students.
At that juncture, the TRRC caught him on lies, for which he blamed on his superior officers at the police headquarters. “The truth of the matter is that you are lying about this because you want to minimise your responsibility. In fact, nobody in that commission [April 10-11) believed your story, as per their findings,” Lead Counsel Essa Faal told him.
Nineteen years ago, a Commission that was instituted to investigate the April 2000 incident concluded that it had no doubt that Inspector Darboe and Gorgi Mboob should be punished but the Anti-Crime commander confessed that it took him a whole day to make up a story that would satisfy the police command at the time.
A day before his appearance before that Commission in 2000, Mr Mboob said he was warned by the then Deputy Inspector General of Police, Sankung Badgie, in the presence of Jay Sowe, and Kajally Jarjue, not to implicate himself or any other police officer.
“The Deputy Inspector General of Police asked what was going to be my testimony. I stated narrating the true story and he told me that you are mad. He instructed me not to mention anybody’s name,” he said.
This was the second time, as in his testimony, Kajally Jarju, who he said gave him a gun during the protest had cautioned him for the same reason. “[He said] let me not implicate anyone and let me put myself out. I tried to argue but he insisted that I must do what he said. I went home and took a pen and started drafting from late afternoon until 12:00 but yet I could not figure out a correct story,” he said, saying that was why he thought using lie for excuse duty during the event would make a good cover-up.
“Even if you ask me [what I said at the time] today, I would not know what I said because it was not the truth. I forgot it; it was a made-up story.”
The statement from St Augustine in the aftermath of the attack, nineteen years ago stated that the PIU and one police officer forced their way in to the school to chase the students, where they converged and mercilessly beat Ousman Sabally, a Physical Education teacher.
It added that “two security officers including Gorgi Mboob aimed at the hall and fired, and injured three students.”
Gorgi Mboob, who admitted all the wrong doings said he has decided to turn a new page, saying, “Today, my boss told me then you were a corporal, but today, you are a commissioner. You should be bold enough to tell the truth.”
He said the time he began the lie, he was on a ‘vulnerable’ rank which is different from his current status in the police.
He used the moment to apologise to teachers and students of St Augustine High School for his criminal ‘trespasses’ together with other men in uniform. He also encouraged any witness for the TRRC to understand that ‘the truth shall set [them] free.