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At Court Martial:

Witness says ‘6th accused is very discipline & obedient’

March 12, 2015 By Patrick J. Kamara

Defence witness No.20 in the ongoing court martial trial of 13 alleged mutinous soldiers yesterday told Judge Advocate Otto During that sixth accused, 18177830 Private Tamba Sheku “is a very obedient and disciplined officer in the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces”.

Led in evidence by lawyer I.P. Mammy, Corporal Lamin Kamara told the court martial that deployed at the 4th battalion in Teko Barracks, Makeni, the sixth accused worked in the military canteen under his direct supervision, adding that the accused proved to be honest and disciplined.

He said as auditor of the canteen, he had prepared a roster for Private Sheku and Bangura, who worked alternatively on 72hour basis. He noted that the canteen was his usual place of relaxation and that he was able to monitor the two soldiers to ensure that the person on duty remained at work throughout the 72 hours.

He noted that the only time he could recall that the accused was not on duty was the time he was arrested, and that he was not aware as to whether the accused  was a party to a secret meeting held within and out of the canteen, geared towards a mutiny, as alleged by the prosecution.

The witness disclosed to the court that the sixth accused, apart from being a soldier, was also a budding musician, but denied during cross-examination that he had never heard any of the accused person’s songs.

Prior to the testimony of Corporal Kamara, the sixth accused himself testified that he had served the army for 16 years, and that he was attached to the military canteen at Teko Barracks as salesman.

He said before he was arrested on 16 August, 2013, he was at home when one Lance Corporal Orbana told him to report at the office. He said when he arrived at the office, Lieutenant Robin – the Regimental Sergeant Major, a Sergeant Major and Provost Sergeant interrogated him about whether he was aware that certain soldiers were holding secret meetings at the Saint Andrew’s Secondary School. He said when he answered in the negative, RSM Francis Kamanda ordered that he should be arrested and locked up.

“I took few days in the battalion guardroom before I was transferred to the custodian centre at the Wilberforce Military Barracks where I started making statement,” the accused told the court.

The trial was adjourned to Monday, 16 March when the 21st defence witness is expected to testify.

The 13 soldiers are charged with eight counts of conspiracy to mutiny, failure to report a mutiny and mutiny. They deny all charges.

One of them has already been acquitted and discharged after the defence successfully argued he has no case to answer.

The men have been held in detention since they were arrested in August 2013 in Makeni, northern Sierra Leone, almost 19 months to date.

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