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Ex-CDS Tamba denies torturing 2006 coup suspects

Dec 16, 2020, 1:14 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

The former chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), Rtd. Lt. Gen. Lang Tombong Tamba in continuation of his testimony before TRRC, yesterday denied all allegations leveled against him by TRRC witnesses who stated that a panel led by him tortured them during 2006 attempted coup.

On whether he participated in interrogating Journalist Madi Jorbateh for writing a news article in April 2006 with regard to the coup, the witness said he doesn't know Madi and has not participated, met or interrogated him.

Counsel Essa Faal told him that Madi alleged that he (Tamba) was the one who ordered his torture at the NIA. The witness, however, denied the allegation.

Counsel Faal also reminded him of the statement of Musa Saidykhan about the incident with Madi Jobarteh on April 2006, that he (Tamba) had participated in the panel that interrogated him, but the witness denied his involvement.

Tamba explained that he was removed from the panel because he tried to defend Sheriff Dibba by asking Yahya Jammeh for his (Dibba’s) release as they had no evidence against him with regard to the 2006 coup. He added that Musa Jammeh called Yahya Jammeh to inform him about the realities on the ground and that was how he was removed.

"The ‘junglers’ were in present at the panel to take and bring suspects from the Mile 2 Prison for interrogation. They were directly receiving their commands from former President Yahya Jammeh. I can tell you that no one was beaten by any jungler during the interrogation."

He testified that during the questioning of the suspects, they invited GRTS to record the conversation ‘in case of anything in the future.’ He added that the first person arrested in connection with the coup was Bunja Darboe who named people that were involved.

Tamba continued that none of the suspects was beaten. However, counsel then ordered the testimony of Bunja Darboe to be played on TV, which indicated that Alhagie Martin tortured him in presence of Lang Tombong Tamba and no action was taken to stop the torture. The witness was allowed to narrate his side of the story but he totally denied the allegation.

"I want to tell you that none of the suspects were beaten to confess being part of the coup. We made them comfortable during the panel and they all confessed on their own will." 

At this juncture, Counsel Faal read the testimony of Jungler Malick Jatta, who confirmed that suspects were tortured to confess in taking part during the 2006 coup attempt. However, witness Tamba told the commission that Malick Jatta lied in his statement.

Tamba accepted that Farreng Sanyang was beaten, until he sustained injuries and he (Tamba) reacted to that. However, Counsel Faal told him that many witnesses said Farreng sustained wounds and that was the reason why his confession was not televised. 

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