By Fatou Dahaba
Fatoumatta Sandeng Darboe told the Truth commission that in the early morning of April 14th after fajr prayer her father told her that they are going to hold a peaceful protest but didn’t know if it will end well, however advise her to take care of the family.
The daughter of the late Solo Sandeng explained that while at work on April 14th she saw women running and when she asked what was happening she was told that there was a coup. She told the TRRC, Tuesday, that on that spot she knew her father was arrested.
She said 15th April she saw in Seedy Sanneh’s timeline that her father was tortured but she could not ascertain if it was true or not because there was no proof, later in the evening people were coming to their house crying including Hon. Ya Kumba Jaiteh and her mother who says they got the news from source that Solo was killed in custody.
She testify that Ya Kumba took them to Ousainou Darboe’s home where they met Ousainou himself crying and he told them that he got the same news, at this juncture she said she concluded that then it’s true her father is killed. Later that evening Ousainou and the late Lamin Dibba came to the house and confirm the news, Sandeng testify.
The witness said her next plan was to take to the street and demand her father’s body dead or alive with this some youths from Dippa Kunda joined her and went to Ousainou Darboe’s who told her that he was going to hold a press briefing and a peaceful protest demanding Solo’s body dead or alive that is going to be led by the UDP executives.
The former humanity band star further stated that there was no micro phone used their only materials was papers and their messages were FREE WESTFILD PROTESTERS, we need Solo Sandeng dead or alive etc.
She told the truth Commission that , as they continue towards Westfield they saw a vehicle full of soldiers and those in the forefront of the protest were forcefully put into the car hit with battens including her younger brother. She said luckily for her and her younger sister someone forces them into a taxi and the driver drove them to their house in Dippa Kunda.
Sandeng said 5 to 10 minutes later, a young man run into their house and inform them that soldiers were coming heading to their house and they were quickly taken to a neighbouring house, 30 minutes later they came out and ran to the Senegalese Embassy in Banjul for protection and there they were denied entry because it fall on Saturday a no working day.
Later with the help Sohna Sallah they flee the country to save their live, she said because they cannot continue hiding for the rest of their life.
She told the commission that at Senegal they were monitoring the situation in the Gambia and when she saw April 14th victims arrange before court but Solo never show up she concluded again that Solo has died but her mum was still hopeful that her husband maybe in critical condition, and that is why he never show up in court.
She said during the court proceedings the state lawyer confirm that Solo died due to respiratory failure. Sandeng said she was deeply touched by Nogoi Njie’s testimony when she narrates their tortures during the court proceedings and the news was later broke to her mum.
The witness and her family live in Senegal for nine months and she and her sister both lost their job at the time.