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Ex-prison warden narrates ordeal at Mile 2, NIA

Nov 26, 2020, 12:17 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

Bakary Tamba, an ex-prison warden yesterday testified before the TRRC, narrating how he was arrested, detained at Mile 2 Prison and tortured at the NIA Headquarters in Banjul.

Born in Busumbala and enlisted into The Gambia Prison Service, Tamba said he was attached at the Main Yard but later moved to the Confinement Wing. Subsequently, Tamba added that he was transferred to Jeshwang Prisons.  

While at work on the 26th March 2013, he narrated that his superiors went to look for him because it was alleged that he gave a phone to one O.B. Mbaye. 

Mr. Tamba told the Commission that this information was relayed to him by one of his boys, who advised him to run but he told him that he was not going anywhere because it is The Gambia he knew and not anywhere else. 

According to him, one day when he reported to work, he was arrested on allegations that O.B. Mbaye alleged that he (Tamba) gave him a mobile phone while at Mile 2. 

"The officers at this juncture told me that they would take me to Mile 2 Prison and I was handed over to Commissioner Lamin Sowe."

After about 10 minutes, he testified that an NIA pick-up arrived and they handed him over to the NIA officers.

The witness continued that he was then taken to the NIA Headquarters and put in a room.  

"I told the NIA officers that it wasn't true that I gave the mobile phone to O.B. Mbaye because Mbaye was held at Mile 2, while I was at Jeswang Prisons. At the time of my detention, I found Abdoulie Camara, Francis Gomez and Lang Tombong Tamba in the same cell I was kept."

Mr. Tamba disclosed that Abdoulie Camara was also a prison officer who was beaten mercilessly till his arm was dislocated. 

According to the witness, Abdoulie Camara was also alleged to have given the mobile phone to Omar Bun Mbaye (OB). 

The witness further alleged that one Bukary Camara took him to the NIA Conference Hall. 

"I found three people and a lot of pipes and sticks from the neem tree. They asked me to remove my shirt and they beat me seriously. When I realised that the beatings did not favour me, I asked them why they were beating but they didn’t tell me anything."

"At this juncture, I went to Modou Jarju alias Rambo and told him that I was a brother of his friend, but he gave me a nasty slap." 

Mr. Tamba recollected that after a break with Bukary Camara, he was taken back in the hall and there they continued to beat him.

"At this juncture, the torturers told me that I met with a white man who gave me a mobile phone, which I handed to Omar Bun Mbaye, but I refuted the allegations.” 

At this point, Michael Correa pulled out a big knife and they called someone outside to serve as independent witness."

Tamba further testified that the torturers told him that they would beat him up till he died and throw him in an old well where they used to throw people. 

"During the course of the beating, I saw Michael Correa and Michael Sambou, Bukary Camara, Sanna Manjang, Modou Jarju, Sulayman Sambou. I was seriously injured on my waist and up to now, my chest and waist do pain me, especially during the cold season."

"I eventually accepted that I gave the mobile phone to O.B. Mbaye because during this period I used to vomit blood and when I went to the toilet, blood oozed from me."

As a result of the beatings, he said Lang Tombong massaged him. 

He indicated that he was arrested on the 25th March till the 4th of April.  

However, he added that he was later dismissed from the prisons by Lamin Sowe in 2013. 

The former prison warden said he was subsequently charged and prosecuted. 

However, he was acquitted and discharged but David Colley told him that he was sacked.

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