Generals Umpa Mendy and Tamba freed

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The General Court-Martial at the Yundum barracks has freed two senior officers of The Gambia Armed Forces namely Generals Umpa Mendy and Ansumana Tamba, both former close aides to former president Yahya Jammeh pending confirmation.

The two renegade generals of The Gambia Armed Force (GAF) faced a single-count of desertion, contrary to The Gambia Armed Forces Act. It was alleged that the duo abandoned official duties for one year without official authority and accompanied former president Yahya Jammeh to Equatorial Guinea; the latter lost to coalition president Adama Barrow in 2016 presidential election.

They were arrested in 2018 from their respective homes shortly after returning to the country from Equatorial Guinea after they managed to escape arrest at the Banjul International Airport.

During the trial, the prosecution called six witnesses and tendered 8 exhibits to prove its case against the accused, while the defense also called two witnesses and tendered two exhibits to prove their innocence.

General Umpa Mendy in his testimony denied the charge and argued that his whereabouts were known to the GAF high command, while Tamba also told the court that General Saul Badgie, a former army commander instructed him to accompany the ex-president into exile and that his efforts to return to the country proved futile.

Tamba added that former president Yahya Jammeh told them to wait until the host nation made arrangement for them to return to the country.

In his judgment, the panel of the general court-martial chaired by President Commodore Madani Senghore said the panel unanimously agreed that the accused persons are found not guilty of desertion. He thus ruled that the two be acquitted and discharged, pending confirmation. 

They were acquitted accordingly, where their families outside the courtroom hugged them.

Author: Momodou Jawo