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Father testifies son disowned Yahya Jammeh as namesake

Nov 25, 2020, 11:55 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

Banta Jaiteh, a businessman and victim of the NIA, yesterday revealed to the TRRC that his son he named after Yahya Jammeh disowned the name after Yahya Jammeh wanted to kill him (Jaiteh).

Born in Bwiam, Jaiteh testified he was arrested by the NIA in August 2014, saying he was made to understand the reason of his arrest. 

Mr. Jaiteh stated that when he was arrested by the NIA, he thought it was in connection with a land issue, instead he was told that he assisted Pa Bojang to abscond. 

"Yankuba Sanno, Wassa Camara and others were said to be the people who reported me to the NIA," he disclosed.

The witness testified that after Pa Bojang absconded, there was an offer of D1,000,000 for anyone who apprehended him.  

Mr. Jaiteh testified that those who accused him of helping Pa Bojang to escape could not substantiate what they accused him of. 

"Among those who interrogated me about the matter were late Louis Gomez, Tunkara and Ceesay. During the course of the investigation, two people were brought and they said they didn't know me."

On whether he was charged with any offence, he responded in the negative; adding that the NIA did not give him any warrant indicating that they would keep him there.

"At the NIA, they put me in a cell and if I wanted to urinate, the NIA would give me an Avian Bottle to urinate in, after which they would open the door for me to go and throw it in the toilet."

He indicated that he saw Alagie Jawara's 16-year-old grandson at the NIA and his body was bloody. 

According to Jaiteh, a day after his arrest, an NIA operative went to his detention center and called him. 

He alleged that the man took him to a place where the lights were off, adding that while walking towards the stairs, a man hit him and he fell down before he was finally taken before a panel comprising18 people. 

According to him, out of this 18 panelists, ‘junglers’ were among them. 

The witness told the commission that the NIA officers never wanted to hear that he did not help Pa Bojang to escape. He said one of them put his hand in a pocket and found a cash power number and thought that it was an international number he was using to communicate with Pa Bojang. 

However, after they realised that it was not an international number, he testified that they decided to leave him. 

The witness told the Commission that after he returned from exile, he opened a file with the police in Banjul. 

However, he said the police told him that they were not mandated to investigate torture but disappearance and killings.

"When they were beating me at the NIA, I was so tired and thirsty. I asked them to give me some water to drink but they refused. After torturing me, the NIA officers took me to an isolated room behind the director's office to avoid my interaction with any of the detainees."

Jaiteh revealed that one Gibril, a soldier who claimed that Yahya Jammeh was his uncle, assisted him by massaging his body. He added that Gibril told him that he was held at the NIA for one year six months. 

Mr. Jaiteh recollected that he was kept at the isolation room for almost a month. 

"The people I was arrested with were Bakary Bojang, Modou Bojang and Tambadou."

After spending months at the NIA, he said he was released without charge. 

He added that prior to that, Lawyer Yassin Senghore pursued his case with the NIA which led to his release without charge. 

At this juncture, the witness produced his underwear shirt stained with blood, which was tendered to the Commission as exhibit. 

A picture of the person that tortured him and hit him with an iron was displayed on the screen. 

Mr. Jaiteh recollected that after he filed his asylum papers in Senegal, he attended treatment clinic in Kafrine.

"Yahya Darboe, Nfaring Sanyang, Wassa Camara, Modou Sowe, Ebrima Sanneh, Colley and a host of others were all receiving treatment in the same hospital in Kafrine."

The witness further revealed to the Commission that when he was in the country, one of his friends who was a court clerk, hinted him that the Gambian authorities were in the process of taking him to Mile 2. 

As a result of that, he decided to run into Senegal. 

On the impacts it had on him, he said it is a setback for him, especially on his business and family.

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