Omar Kujabi, alias Baitullah Junior, is a well-known social media commentator in Gambia who is currently facing sedition and four other criminal charges. On Monday, March 13, he pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him. Baitullah Junior is accused of threatening violence, publication of false news, and internet-related offenses in addition to two charges of sedition.
Baitullah Junior is a resident of Kafuta and a staunch supporter of former President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh. He is famous for his expressions over social media criticizing the current regime. Baitullah Junior received this name from one Omar Sanneh, alias Baitullah, who is in exile after he was arrested and prosecuted at the Brikama Magistrate’s Court for his expressions over social media.
The prosecution alleges that Baitullah Junior is a strong supporter of former President Yahya Jammeh and that he released WhatsApp audios around October 2022 after the death of 69 children from AKI. In the first audio, the prosecution alleges that he was calling for people to come and protest massively against the government if they failed to tackle the death of the children. Additionally, the prosecution alleges that Baitullah Junior threatened that President Barrow must step down to pave the way for former President Jammeh to come back and assume office.
In his second audio, the prosecution alleges that he asked President Barrow to vacate office and went further to threaten police officers. In his third and final audio, the prosecution alleges that Omar realized his mistake and apologized to President Barrow and his servicemen and to all Gambians. He also vowed not to engage in any political dealings, but while at a naming ceremony in Sotokoi village on the 7th of November 2022, he was arrested by the Anti-Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force.
According to the particulars of the offenses, the prosecution alleges that Omar Kujabi, sometime in September and October 2022, at Kafula Village and diverse places in the West Coast Region, with seditious intention made several WhatsApp audios calling on the people to go out to the streets and march to the State House in order to unlawfully remove the government of President Adama Barrow. The prosecution also alleges that Omar Kujabi, sometime in September and October 2022, at Kafuta Village, made a WhatsApp audio calling for the unlawful removal of President Adama Barrow, which statement was meant to bring into hatred, contempt, and to excite disaffection against the person of President Adama Barrow.
Furthermore, the prosecution alleges that Baitullah Junior threatened to assault officers of the Police Intervention Unit who were sent to arrest him. He also did publication of false news with the intent to cause fear and alarm to the public and the release of WhatsApp audios calling for the unlawful takeover of the government President Adama Barrow and the state.
The State wants to bring five witnesses in the case, including Ebou Sowe, Ansumana Kujabi, Abdoulie Kujabi, Binta Bojang, and Musa Jallow. Baitullah Junior said three of the listed witnesses the prosecution wants to call are his family members. He mentioned that Binta Bojang is his mother. Justice Jaiteh asked Baitullah Junior whether he meant to say Binta Bojang is his aunt, but the accused person answered saying ‘she is my biological mother.’
In conclusion, Baitullah Junior’s case is one of the most talked-about topics in the Gambia currently. Many people are following the case with keen interest, and the outcome will have significant implications for freedom of speech and expression in the country.