Ex-police adviser narrates his involvement in 2006 coup

Jan 5, 2021, 12:51 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

Tamsir Jasseh, yesterday testified before the TRRC, giving account of his interaction with former Colonel Ndure Cham with regard to the 22 March 2006 abortive coup.

Jasseh was born in Banjul and is currently an American citizen. He holds a master degree in Terrorism and Homeland Protection.

He told the commission that he was in the U.S. Navy, adding that in 1999, he returned from America and was appointed police adviser.  

He further explained that he was later appointed deputy IGP till the end of December 2000. He said his dismissal came after he presented the role of the military in a democratic country during an event.

Jesseh stated that he was later appointed director of Immigration till his arrest in 2005. He recalled that Major Bajinka told him that he was arrested because of his idea to introduce new ID Cards.

"After my release, I decided to stay in the country to do some of my businesses. I opened a restaurant in Banjul."

Explaining how he came to know Colonel Ndure Cham, he said that they first met at a security council meeting and he (Cham) used to visit his restaurant.

He added that he spoke to Ndure, who got the mindset of over throwing the then Jammeh regime because he was concerned about the killing of individuals by the government. He said anytime Ndure came to his restaurant, he spoke about his plans and that’s how he got to know that Ndure was serious about his decision.

"I asked him who was going to be the president after the coup; and whether Lang Tombong Tamba was part of it because I believed that bringing Tamba would make things easier. Ndure told me that Alieu Jobe was identified to become the president, which didn't go well with me because Alieu was very young and had no experience. On the issue of Tamba, Ndure told me Tamba was not informed about the coup."

On 22 March 2006, the witness testified that Ndure called to inform him that the coup didn't materialise and he was to be executed, saying Ndure believed that it was only him who could help him in that time to leave the country, which he did.

He added that after two days, he heard some knocks on his gate and shots by the men with black uniform at night. He stated that before he was picked up, he called the U.S. Embassy to inform them about the matter.

The retired U.S. Navy officer told the commission that he was arrested and taken to Mile 2 Prison.

"I was taken to NIA headquarters for interrogation but was beaten along the way. At the interrogation room, armed officers were there and representative from the police, army and the NIA. The room was not organised and threatening words were used against us."

"The NIA head wanted me to confess, which I asked him what he wanted me to say. He told me that he wanted me to agree that I was aware and part of the coup and I also helped Ndure escaped, which I agreed. They also wanted me to implicate MC Cham, Sheriff Dibba and Isatou Njie Saidy but I refused."

He said he was forced to sign his testimony and Babou Loum was called to sign the witness’, adding he was not present when his statement was taken. He said that they were later forced to confess on TV.

Jasseh recalled that Malick Jatta and Michael Correa were among those who tortured him at the NIA headquarters. He added that he was beaten twice in the presence of Tumbul Tamba, Musa Jammeh and others.

"We were formally charged with concealment of treason after all and subsequently prosecuted and convicted. I was sentenced 20 years with hard labour but I only served six and half years. Prior to that, I wanted everyone to know that Ndure never left the country. He was somewhere around Farafanni in his village and he used to send me money while I was in prison."

He said he was later pardoned along with Dr. Scattered Janneh and whisked to the airport to depart to America with his family.