By Ousman A. Marong
Mrs Georgiana Koso Taylor, the second female witness to testify before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) Wednesday told the team of counsel at the Commission that she was arrested on Thursday, 12th October, 1995.
“I was arrested on the 12th October, 1995, on a faithful Thursday morning after coming from Afric Airlines at Kairaba Avenue where I purchased a ticket to travel to Freetown,” she said.
She explained that she was unable to locate the place and she decided to drop along Kairaba Avenue in the Kanifing Municipality and eventually collided with Sainey Manneh, a security officer who greeted her and informed her about an alleged demonstration.
Madam Taylor made these remarks while testifying at ongoing TRRC proceedings from her base in the United States of America via Skype.
According to her, as she was talking to Sainey Manneh she saw a military vehicle appearing before them and they asked her to enter.
“As I was trying to enquire about the reason why I should enter the vehicle, I was forcefully pushed into the vehicle and was taken to Kairaba Police Station,” she asserted.
She revealed that upon arrival at the Kairaba Police Station, she was screened and the officers on duty found almost D8000 in her bag which they kept safely for her. She disclosed that she was later transferred to the Fajara Barracks where she met almost 10 detainees among whom she was the only female detainee.
She said the cells in which they were detained were not healthy for any human being to stay and that, there was no water to drink or to wash their faces.
“The place was very dirty and there was no mats on the ground. We were sleeping on the empty floor and it was very dirty,” she remarked.
She recalled meeting OJ Jallow, Ousainou Njie (late), MC Cham Senior, Batch Samba Jallow, Jobarteh Manneh, etc in the same detention center with her. She pointed out that over 30 of them were put in one cell and she was the female among them.
Madam Taylor noted that there were no good toilet facilities, and that, they were escorted anytime they want to go to toilet. She said anytime she wants to visit the toilet, the military men will escort her to a corner where she will ease herself and they will stand infront of her looking at her.
She alleged that on one Saturday morning, security officers came to their cell to torture them. She narrated that as they appeared they first met Jobarteh Manneh and they asked all the detainees to lie down on the floor and they started walking on them with their combat boots.
Madam Taylor explained that as they were talking to Jobarteh Manneh, one of them opened fired and she (Madam Taylor) told him, I thought you were going to kill him, why don’t you carry on?.
“As I uttered that statement, eight (8) of them rushed at me and slapped me and kicked me until I fell down. There was blood all over the place,” a tearful Madam Taylor explained. She said she spent one month at the said detention centre and was transferred to the NIA office in Banjul and she later fled to Senegal until she had the opportunity to travel to the USA. She said she was released in November 1995 but was not taken before any court of law.