Late Baba Jobe's wife explains how Baba was imprisoned, killed

Jun 23, 2020, 1:05 PM

Tida Jaiteh, a wife to late Baba Jobe, a former closed ally to former president Yahya Jammeh, yesterday testified before the TRRC, giving accounts of how Baba was imprisoned and killed through executive orders.

Jaiteh who worked with The Gambia International Airline, said Baba was born in Jarra Karantaba.


Explaining the relationship between Jammeh and Baba, she said when Jammeh took over the government, they needed help for the world for recommendation, adding that Jammeh knew at the time Baba had connection with Muammar Gadaffi and using him was the fastest way of getting to Gadaffi for global recognition.


"They took him to the State House and made him the secretary of state. Baba told me that during Jawara's time, he used to be arrested whenever he came from Libya. Baba also explained to me that Yahya Jammeh used to build communication whenever he was arrested. They look like they had something in common, which was to remove former President Dawda Jawara."


She told the commission that being secretary to the president and also the National Assembly member in 2001, Baba Jobe was also a business man running the youth development institution.


When Baba was arrested, she said that they heard over GRTS that the UN Security Council Resolution demanded the freezing of Baba Jobe's accounts.


"The powers that Jammeh gave to Baba were the powers he used against Baba. Baba was powerful in all the departments of state, especially in the security sector.”


She said Baba got arrested in 2003 in the month of Ramadan. According to her, she got the news about his arrest through Fatou Njie Fofana.

“I called Baba and he confirmed it, saying it was the armed paramilitaries that found him in his office and took him to the Serious Crime Unit. Baba told me to hide all his documents because he knew they would come to the house and conduct a search."


Jaiteh said her late husband was sentenced for nine years but he served seven years imprisonment.


She recalled that Baba was taken to court and convicted before Justice M.A. Paul, while stating that Lawyer Mai Fatty, Lawyer Jobarteh and Lawyer Ousman Sillah were the defenders of Baba Jobe.


Jaiteh said the trial was not in line with the law and the judge was a machinery judge and he convicted him.


"When Baba was locked at Mile 2, they never allowed us to visit him. I tried to smuggle a mobile phone through a prison officer just to speak to Baba but that was not for free because I used to pay the officer more than 2000 dalasis per month.”


“I also used to smuggle food because he told me the prison's food caused beriberi and it does kill."


She added that Baba had been denied medical attention, which she said, warranted her to meet former director of prisons, David Colley, and gave him some provisions to treat Baba well in the prison. She said David used to call Ebrima Jobe, younger brother of Baba to solve some of his monetary problems.


"I made several efforts to get Baba out of the prison. When Baba’s term at the prison ended, I went to David and explained to him but he directed me to the Interior Ministry to meet Ousman Sonko. But he never wanted to see me. We also wrote a pleasant letter to Yahya Jammeh informing him that Baba's prison term was finished but Jammeh said he was not aware and nothing was done after all.”

“I and the Libyan government through late President Gadaffi made several efforts for Baba to be released, but to no avail."


Witness said despite Gadaffi's bribe to Jammeh in order to release Baba, she said Baba was not released and Baba was killed a month after Gadaffi was killed.


She recalled that when Baba was at the hospital, some people were sent to the hospital through an “executive order.” However, one Lamin Darboe, a prison officer, she said, called me and said let Baba deny any injection from the hospital staff because they might kill him. Baba was transferred to private block, Room 10.

Before he was taken to the private block, I saw a prison Medic Jarjue and Jombo discussing something and I told Baba but he told me they were up to something."


She recalled that on a particular Friday, as she was going to the kitchen, she met with two people going to the room, however, she thought they were visitors. She added that one Ismaila Jammeh later told him that the ‘junglers’ had arrived and it was Nuha Badjie and Omar Jallow alias Oya.


"That was the time Baba called and said something was to happen and I should take heart if they kill him. He also called on his brother Ebrima and told him the same thing.


She added that she left at night and wished him good night but only to be called on the following Saturday that Baba had died.


"When I went to the hospital and found my stuff being packed at the middle of the hospital, I realised that Baba had died and at that juncture the world was dark for me and I couldn't cry. The body was handed over to us on Monday and there was no postmortem."


Madam Jaiteh further told the commission that after the death of Baba, they had some difficulties, saying the Trust Bank that was supposed to pay Baba for using his property at Jarra Soma said Amadou Samba had collected the money on the orders of Yahya Jammeh.