Intelligence agent recounts ordeal

Jan 14, 2021, 1:56 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

Kebba Secka of the State Intelligence Service yesterday testified before the TRRC, explaining the reason for his arrest, detention and tortures by his comrades at the defunct NIA.

After joining the NIA in 1998, he said the NIA worked for former President Yahya Jammeh’s interest first.

Secka told the commission that the culture of torture at the NIA started when the Investigation Unit was formed in 1994. He added that the investigation unit was responsible of arrest, detention and investigation of cases, saying most of the cases were executive directives.

“Anybody that was brought to NIA on government issues would be tortured. The tortures were conducted in the conference hall during an investigation panel after working hours.”

He said torture was normal at the NIA and some people were illegally detained for two to three months in the premises.

He added that it was common knowledge to every NIA officer that NIA tortured individuals.

“On 25 May 2007, I was arrested and taken to Bakau Police Station where I was detained for three days. Musa Kinteh came and detained with Duta Kamasu, a former NAM and others at the NIA headquarters for some days. One day, a colleague of mine, Babou Njie informed me that I was going to be tortured.”

He testified that late in the evening, he was called at the panel where he recognised Shering Wada, Babucar Jallow, Salifu Njang, Babou Njie, Boo Baaji, Edrisa Jobe, Samba Gajaga, Alhagie Morr, Musa Kinteh, Boto Keita, Lamin Darboe and others.

The witness recalled that Babucar Jallow told him that he received information that he (witness) was working with the rebels because a motor cycle was seized from a rebel that he (Secka) registered at Brikama Station.

“Edrisa Jobe undressed me naked, cuffed my hands and beat me up, and later called Lamin Darboe to join him in beating me. I was wounded on my hands and legs; it was even difficult to write my statement.”

Secka said he was later locked in a cell with five others who are rebels from Cassamace. He added that at some point, he was asked to change his statement to a witness statement, so that they could use him to testify against the rebels. According to him, he refused because he was accused and tortured.

He confirmed that he spent 45 days in NIA cell before taken to Mile 2 Prison at Maximum Security Wing with the rebels for two years before they were charged.

“When Ensa Badjie was IGP, many people complained about people being detained without charges. We were taken to Brikama Magistrates’ Court and charged with terrorism and that was why we were remanded and we started receiving visitors.

He said the matter was later transferred to High Court and he was finally charged with negligence of duties but got acquitted and discharged with 10 others. He added that he was later reinstated as intelligence officer in 2013.