Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In the ongoing Court Martial proceedings, Lieutenant Jewel Augustine revealed gripping details of an intense firefight between soldiers and adversaries at the 5th Battalion gate. Testifying on Friday, January 19, 2024, he spoke of the challenges faced during the security breach.
During the cross-examination led by Lawyer Ibrahim Bangura at the High Court in Freetown, Lieutenant Augustine shared that the 8th accused, RSLAF 18181624 Lieutenant Corporal Eustace Neka, had been part of the patrol team. The witness recounted events leading up to the attack, mentioning a parade at 9:30 a.m. the day before the incident, followed by a patrol to Mile 13 with the accused.
When questioned about the security breach at 5 Battalion, Lieutenant Augustine, while not specifying the exact time, affirmed that the attack occurred in the morning hours. He explained that since the attack, the eight accused was initially with the group at Wilberforce but went missing when they reached Congo Cross.
During a headcount at Cockeril, the witness noted the absence of the 8th accused and confirmed that he failed to confirm his headcount. The seriousness of the attack, he emphasized, intensified whenever the 8th accused made a call.
Under cross-examination, Lieutenant Augustine detailed the firefight at the 5 Battalion Gate, mentioning his leadership of the patrol team and the constant communication of the eight accused via phone. He narrated their movement to Congo Cross and a call received from late Lieutenant Colonel Samai, which led to a change in uniform and deployment of personnel.
Lieutenant Augustine also described encountering Abu Dauda, the fourth accused from 15 Battalion, and another personnel, leading to questions about their identity. The witness highlighted the continuous exchange of gunfire at the main gate of the commander’s joint unit and later receiving a call from Deputy Chief of Staff Colonel Kposowa.
The testimony unfolded with the witness recounting an RPG blast, Colonel Kposowa advising them to wait, and later discovering blood at a location where WO2 Sitta Dumbuya and WO2 Yambasu were hiding. He shared that both soldiers were handed over to the Special Investigation Branch for questioning.
As the court martial proceedings continued, a bail application on behalf of all the accused was made by Defence Counsel Julian Cole, but it was refused by Judge Advocate Mark Ngeba. The accused remain remanded in custody until January 24, 2024. MJB/21/1/2024