‘SIS is one of the most reformed security institutions in Gambia’

Mar 29, 2021, 11:37 AM | Article By: Momodou Jawo

Aziz Hydara, a senior operative of the State Intelligence Services (SIS) during his appearance at the TRRC, said SIS is the is one of the most reformed security institutions in the country, adding that the agency has now turned 360 degrees from its activities.

“I didn’t see any achievement of institutional reform from any security institution in the country apart from the SIS. I have seen the NIA before and I have now seen how they are restructured today. The service has become more tolerant and professional institution or service in the country. They have now turned 360 degrees from their activities. Now even an SIS officer would be afraid to tell people that they are SIS operatives.”

Mr. Hydara in making his concluding remarks at the TRRC through Skype said: “I would like to thank all the staff of the SIS through their director general for definitely transforming the institution and restructuring and repositioning the service to be one of the best services in the country,” he stated, adding that the agency is playing a significant role towards the maintenance of peace and stability in the country.

“I have seen in most of the testimonies, people were emphasising on the torture attitude and the human right violations at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). However, they forget other institutions in the country. In fact, others were even claiming that it’s mode of operandi of the NIA. But I want to tell this commission that I have been working for 27 years at the NIA.”

“Out of these 27 years, I spent 24 years at the headquarters in Banjul. Therefore, I know the place very well. I will not deny the fact that the place have been used for torture and human rights violation and I have listened to some witness testimonies, claiming that 90% of NIA staff are torturers. I will not agree to that. Maybe you will only have 15% or 20% who are torturers. In fact, most of the torturers would come from other institutions and use the NIA premises for tortures.”

“This is like a cycle of the activities of the security institutions. Like the military would arrest some people and detain them at Mile Two Central Prison. However, in the night they would pick those detainees and take them in the NIA premises and tortured them. Equally the NIA would arrest some people and detained them in various police stations and the police officers or the authorities would be rotating these people from one station to another in order to hide them from their families.”

“The police, he claimed, would equally sometimes arrest people and detained them at Mile Two without warrants. The military would again took these police detainees from Mile Two and bring them to the NIA and beat them. Therefore, who is innocent of these tortures?” he queried.