Treason Trial: Witness says Koita admits attacking military barracks

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By Yusufu S Bangura

In the ongoing treason trial, Detective Inspector Tamba Kasigbama has on Wednesday presented crucial evidence against the 1st accused,Amadu Koita Makalo.

He said during investigations at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters Koita admitted his involvement in the attack on military barracks in Freetown during the attempted coup on November 26, 2023.

Led through examination in chief by state prosecutor,Ahmed J. M Bockarie, Kasigbama read from Koita’s statement, disclosing that  the accused admitted to being part of the group that attacked military installations, including the Cockrill military headquarters in Freetown.

Kasigbama explained his connection with the 5th accused,Alimatu Hassan Bangura, who, he identified as a colleague at the CID, attached to the West Africa Police Information System (WAPIS).

He said during the investigation, it was discovered that Koita had visited Alimatu’s apartment in 2020 before traveling to the United Kingdom.

Kasigbama narrated that investigations revealed that Koita  was sending money to Staff Sergeant Alihaji Koroma for him to buy arms and ammunitions for the coup d’etat operations.

He said Koroma had earlier told Koita that he was in control of  480 arms and ammunitions, but told Koita that it was difficult for him to move with the said arms and ammunitions.

Further revelations indicated that Koita and Mohamed Jalloh,2nd accused, visited one Pa Sesay,a herbalist, with funds sent for specific purposes related to the coup.

On page 27 of his statement, Koita mentioned that Sorieba, who is a former bodyguard attached to former President Ernest Bai Koroma’s residence, who was fatally injured at Wilberforce, was part of the coup.

He said Koita further identified Leather Boot (Idrissa Kamara) as a former security personnel attached to former President Koroma, who came from Guinea together with Koita, and who was deployed at the joint logistic unit at Murray Town on November 25, 2023, but was subsequently killed.

He said on page 20, it was revealed that Corporal Marrah, during the investigations, was a serving member of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces and was one of the suspects that is now being tried at the court martial.

He said Marrah was the driver who conveyed 8 rifles to Lungi with his taxi.

He said Koita on page 29 of his statement also confirmed his acquaintance with Ibrahim Bundu Kamara,alias American, who is already facing the court martial trial.

He said Koita,Kabba Dumbuya, Staff Sergeant Abu Dauda and others were  reportedly seen at the Pademba Road Correctional Centre on the day of the incident.

He said the court martial suspects, Sergeant Conteh and Chernor Bah, were allegedly killed during the assault by the assailants who attacked Cockrill.

Kasigbama disclosed that Koita, together with Staff Sergeant Dauda and Ibrahim Bundu, carried away weapons from the Wilberforce Military Barracks on the day of the attack, but they were unable to break into the arms and ammunition store at Cockrill.

The witness continued that according to Koita’s statement, they were attacked by state security from Murray Town Junction.

 He said whiles they were at Congo Cross, and as a result of the attack, they blasted RPG bomb from their team against the state security where Lieutenant Cornell Samai and Corporal Marrah were killed, whiles Major General Alpha was injured.

He revealed that footage from correctional centres was retrieved for analysis.

He said Koita’s phone was taken from him at the CID headquarters and given to the cyber unit for analysis and certain relevant materials were extracted from the said phone.

The witness concluded that Koita was later charged to court with the offenses of treason, murder and shooting with intent to murder.

The charge statement was produced and tendered in court to form part of the evidence.

At the end of his testimony, the witness was cross examined by Lawyer F. Mansaray representing the 2nd accused and Lawyer Sigimond A. Conteh representing Amadu Koita.

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