Sukai Dahaba, a member of the “Calama (Calabash) Revolution” and a victim of arrest and unlawful detention, had explained to the Truth Commission that she was seriously tortured by officers of the Police intervention unit (PIU).
Mrs. Dahaba, alias “Calama” (Calabash) Revolution. Recounts what happened on April 16th 2016, when United Democratic Party (UDP) took up to the street to ask for the release of their comrades earlier arrested by the police. “Shortly after we left Ousainou Darboe’s compound, the PIU officers arrived and started beating us until they wounded the UDP party leader, Ousainoun Darboe, seriously on his head.”
She told the commission that the late Femi Peters, Lamin Dibba and a host of others were also beaten seriously.
Miss Dahaba confirmed that the PIU did not only stopped at beating them but they also fired teargas. Notwithstanding, Ousainoun Darboe and the rest of the protesters continued to chant “We need Solo Sandeng, dead or alive”. “The policemen were indiscriminately hitting men and women” she recalled.
On whether she was hit around the Kairaba Station, she responded in yes. “I was beaten with a horse pipe.” As a result of that, she had a serious pain in her leg. The PIU Officers, later fired teargas at the compound gate of the woman who lured her in.
“As I attempted to get up, the woman advised me to sit down and said to me that she was my elder sister.”
During the course of Ousainou and Co trial, the witness told the commission she was with the rest of the “Calama revolution women” to attend the court processing. “We were chanting ‘released Ousainou Darboe and hand them over Solo Sandeng dead or alive”.
The witness recollected that after attending the court proceedings, and as she was about to go home, it became difficult to get transportation for her and her friends. According to her, drivers were ordered by state agents not to transport the people returning from the protest march. “We did not get a car and we decided to trek on foot. We were about to reach the bond road junction, when we met with another group of armed soldiers with guns.”
Mrs. Dahaba informed the Commission that the PIU officers later stood in front of them and said they wouldn’t pass after which the tension begun rising. Scared of what may happen, she went to the CFAO Motors showroom for safety. But a woman asked her to leave and not to cause trouble for them.
“When I went out to go, a PIU officer told me that I was under arrest and immediately he started striking my legs. He was hitting me with a horse pipe, I was just from having an operation. I then covered my hands on my stomach to avoid him touching me there. She recalls.
Sukai said the officer then asked her to run, took the horse Pipe and continued to beat her seriously. “They hit me on my face. I don’t know how many times I was hit on my face.”
According to the witness, shortly after their detention, some of the men that were arrested with her were taken to Janjangbureh prison.
On the issue of washing dishes while in detention, Sukai testified that since the day of her arrest, her co-detainees and she were tasked to washing basins, cooking pots and other utensils. She revealed that Fatoumatta Baldeh, a PIU officer, assisted them while in detention by smuggling chicken legs as food for them.
One night, they were released from detention. But upon arrival home, Sukai told the Commission that her son could no longer recognize her because she had lost so much weight and looked pale. “I was so weak because I was not eating good food at the PIU.”
Mrs. Dahaba further explained to the commission that they were released on bail. “One day while at home, some people entered our compound and one of the men held me on the neck while the other broke my wardrobe and took away my money. I was then injected something by one of the officers that broke into my house that night and the injection really troubled me to this day.”
Mrs. Dahaba later fled the country to Senegal with her two younger children for fear of her life and that of her children. “I was living in exile in Senegal for 8 months with my children. I was so traumatized and devastated throughout my stay there”. She revealed it to the commission.
The TRRC Chairman Lamin Sise asked her how many times she moved from one compound to another while in Senegal, she responded that she moved into three different compounds within her 8 months of stay in Senegal.
Yet Sukai told the Commssion she believed that she defended a right cause. “Even if I had died today, I have nothing to regret.” She concluded.
The Commission will resume sittings on the 4th January, 2021.