Treason Trial: Witness says assailant launched RPG bomb at him

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By Yusufu S. Bangura

Major Musa Adazo Leslie Dassama, the seventeen (17) prosecution witness in the on-going treason trial, has on Thursday, 21st March, explained the ordeal he encountered with the assailants before Justice Komba Kamanda at the Siaka Steven Street High Court in Freetown.

The witness led in evidence by state prosecutor, Aruna Jalloh identified himself as the Head of Information, Communication System and the officer commanding the Military Aid to Civil Power (MAC. P) stationed at Cockeril Barracks.

He explained that on the 25th November, 2023, on duty at the Cockeril Military Barracks, Wilkinson Road around 9pm when Major General Dauda Alpha informed him that they had received intelligence that some unknown persons wanted to commit mayhem in the capital city.

He said upon receipt of the information, Major General Dauda Alpha commander of the Joint Force at the RSLAF with Lieutenant Colonel Samai tried to call Major Charles Yamba, Head of the 5 Battalion at Wilberforce, who is currently standing trail at the court martial.

He continued that he in his presence, Lieutenant Samai tried to reach out to Lieutenant Yamba, but he didn’t respond to his call.

 He said Major Alpha was later advised by Lt Col. Samai to call the wife of Lieutenant Yamba to inform her husband that he should report at the Cockerill Military Headquaters.

According to Major Dassama, after a while, Lieutenant Yamba showed-up where he was given the same information shared to others in his absence.

 He said Yamba was urged to maintain maximum security at the  Wiberforce armoury  while he left.

Major Dassama went told the court that after some minutes, Major General Alpha also instructed the Chief of Staff, Aiah Jass Gbondo, to organize a patrol within the City of Freetown with further instructions to reach at the police headquarters at George Street in Freetown to have a joint-unit which should be led by the police.

The witness in continuation of his evidence said on Sunday 26th November 2023, at around 11:00 hours, Major Marrah  approached him at his office and  informed  him that an unknown persons had attacked Wilberforce armoury.

“Upon receiving that information, I rushed outside to organize my quick reaction force. During the process of putting together my team, I received verbal instruction from Major Dauda Alpha in order to move my team to the Wilberforce Barracks, working with Lieutenant Yamba,” he testified

He added that when they arrived at the Vice President Lodge, they met with Lieutenant Colonel Jah, whom  he ordered to join the operations and that they left the Vice President Lodge to Wilberforce Barack.

“When we arrived at Bottom Mango, Wilberforce was peaceful.I immediately separated the team in two,” he said.

He said they separated with Lieutenant Jah who stayed at Bottom Mango while he headed to the armoury, using one- five information.

He said upon approaching the 5 Battalion main gate, he halted the group and ordered them to dash down and lie on their belly for safety and observed the area.

He further said that, as he arrived at Wilberforce, he saw a black Jeep at the entrance of the arms and ammunition store, and few minutes later he saw the jeep entering the Wilberforce armoury store.

Later that day, Major Dassama stated that at the main gate leading to the armoury store he saw a soldier fully dressed in a British camouflage uniform carrying an RPG with a bomb fixed on it.

He said the unknown soldier went to the main entrance observing the road.

He said when he saw that soldier he thought that Lieutenant Yamba had executed his assignment and he called his phone 9 times, but there was no response.

He called Major Mohamed Hindolo Turay, the Acting Command Officer at Joint Communications Unit to know if Lieutenant Yamba was there, but he replied that he was not in his office.

“I decided to confront the soldier to know if he was assigned by Lieutenant Yamba, but before I could even say my name to him, the soldier shot the RPG bomb at me where I sustained injuries on my left thumb, left shoulder, legs and a fragment entered my stomach. I also used my AK-47 rifle and shot back at the soldier. As I’m talking now, my lord, there is a fragment in my stomach,” he testified.

He said upon seeing blood oozing from his body, he ordered his soldiers to withdraw and went to the Vice President Lodge where they  met Brigadier General Idiara Bangura, Assistant Chief of Defense staff at the Ministry of Defense and Lieutenant Colonel E. J Tommy.

The witness said Brigadier General Idiara Bangura ordered Lieutenant Colonel  Tommy to take him to the Emergency Hospital at Goderich where he he given first-aid treatment.

He said after receiving his treatment, he called Colonel  M. M Kposowa informing him that he wanted to join the operation  team to repel the attackers and was given the go ahead.

The witness who was in tears whiles testifying told the court that up till now there were fragments in his stomach and he  had been feeling the pain.

Meanwhile, Justice Komba adjourned the matter to Monday 25th March 2024 for further hearing.

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