Horomsi: As promised, I intend to share my Mile Two Prison diary with the Freedom Newspaper readers. It was on or about April 3,  2006, when Gambia’s Intelligence Chief  Daba Marena, Lt. Ebou Lowe, 2nd Lt. Alieu Ceesay, Warrant Officer, Alpha Bah and Staff Sgt. Manlafi Corr were escorted from their tiny confinement cells to an execution ground, close to President Jammeh’s birth home village of Kanilai. The men left the Prisons, under the pretext of being taken to Janjangbureh jail house. They left  Mile Two, with wounds all over their bodies. The men suffered worst torture one can ever imagine.

During their brief detention at the Mile Two Prisons, the detainees were held at  the NIA Head Quarters in Banjul, where they were electrocuted by their captives. State Guard solders led by Major Musa Jammeh, the late Tumbul Tamba, SGT. Sana Manjang, Corporal Njie, and others spearheaded the torture of the late detainees. Former NIA DG Harry Sambou, former NIA Director of Operations  Momodou Hydara  were present at the time of the torture of these detainees,  based on the information I gathered during the cause of my investigations. Daba Marena and four others  would not have survived  the torture they suffered from the hands of Musa Jammeh’s men even they were to be set free.

The state was convinced beyond all reasonable doubt that these detainees were going to die and as such had decided to “finish” them to borrow the expression used by President Jammeh when contacted by Musa Jammeh as to what would be their next line of action. Jammeh ordered that Daba Marena and four others should be killed without “delay.” This he said, would deny them the opportunity to narrate their ordeal before the courts and to their loved ones.

My prison source  had earlier advised me to pose as a donor who is interested in helping the Prison Department. During  that visit, I  extended financial help to the remand wing, where inmates were overcrowded. I had a meeting with the Prison officials. They complained about insufficient budget to run the jail, lack of enough cooking condiments, utensils and shelter for inmates. Inmates never changed  their clothes and often scramble for food. Daily fighting and weed smoking has been a common routine at Mile Two. Some inmates narrated horrific stories to me, which makes me shed tears. Some of these inmates have spent between four to five years without being charged or having access to an attorney. A good number of them were murder suspects. Some were being detained on armed robbery charges. These detainees thought that I was representing a human rights organization and therefore my presence at the remand wing availed them the opportunity to tell me their story. I would get back  to this later, as we proceed on Daba and four others murder.

My visit to the Mile Two Prisons was prompted by two reasons. One, I wanted to ascertain reports if Daba Marena and co had really escaped as alleged by the press release issued by the Office of the Inspector General of police. Two, I also wanted to know if the detainees were indeed murdered as rumored  along the streets of Banjul. I must say that my visit was fruitful. The Prison warden who facilitated my visit informed me that non of their men were part of the team who escorted Daba Marena and four others out of the prisons.

According to the warden, under normal circumstances, Prison officers  should be part of such operations, but to their surprise, Musa Jammeh told them that “they got orders from HE President Jammeh” not to allow staff members of the Prison Department to join their team. My warden escort explained how Jammeh and his group stormed the Prison that early morning, where Daba Marena and others were forcefully dumped into waiting vehicle outside the Prison’s main gate.

There and then David Colley and his Directorate became suspicious about the sinister plans hatched to execute the detainees. Colley advised his men to corporate with Musa Jammeh and his men since the order came from the President. Although, he advised that the departure of the detainees be logged for future reference. David Colley must be very lucky if  he is not killed by President Jammeh’s hit men. The President is apparently not happy about the leakage of information about the murder of Daba Marena and four others.

What Jammeh fails to realize is that the leakage of such  classified state information emanated from the NIA and not the Prisons. David Colley was never present when Daba Marena and four others were being summarily executed by Musa Jammeh and co. Some men of the NIA were present at the execution ground. Colley’s only crime was documenting the departure of the inmates, which he had all rights to do so.

The police press release tells it all. ” “The general public is hereby assured that there is no cause for alarm as the situation is under control,” Indeed, the situation was under control since Musa Jammeh and his men had reported to Oga that ” the mission had been accomplished.” What is sad though, is that many security detainees have been murdered in the Gambia and yet the state always claimed that they  had went missing. Each time, they rushed with a press release announcing that so and so person have  went missing know that the person is killed.

Take the case of Foday Makalo, the former APRC Administrative Secretary. He was murdered and buried at the Garden of Chief Alhagie Tabora Manneh of Barra. The soldiers who killed Foday are walking in our streets freely. Jammeh ordered for his killing since he had a monetary difference with the late Makalo.

My Prison warden told me that he had the chance to talk to Daba Marena before he was killed. These were the words of Daba “Lang Tombong Tamba misled the President. The real people who are going to remove him are there. I’m accused because they believe that for them to achieve their long term plans, the best thing they can do is to incriminate me. I was with the President throughout his visit in Mauritania. Lang never called me on my roaming cell phone. I have foiled many coups directed against the President in the past. For the past days, they have been torturing us for nothing.”

My prison warden then said one of the soldiers name (withheld) assigned to guard the security cells, where Daba and four others were detained allowed one of the detainees to use his mobile phone to speak to one of his loved ones prior to their execution. The warden said being a senior man in the prisons, he had access to all the cells and his men constantly kept him abreast with developments within  the prisons. The Prison warden said if Daba was alive Lang Tombong Tamba, IGP Ousman Sonko, Momodou Hydara of the NIA, Musa Jammeh and other names he volunteered to would have been questioned in relation to the March coup.

The source said  Daba did informed him that he started drawing bit and pieces whilst in Mauritania and had clear leads that would have helped  the investigations. But the president started distancing himself from Daba as soon as their aircraft touched at the Banjul International Airport. Daba’s hope to conduct an investigation into the coup never materializes as Lang and co came up with a story that Daba was part of the “plot” to unseat the government.
President Jammeh acted on intelligence reports from Lang Tombong Tamba to kill “Daba and four others.” without allowing to hear Daba’s side of the story. It’s a common saying in the army that  “when an operation failed, all those suspected of leaking the operation should die.”  Whether Daba, Lowe and others were accomplices to Nudure  Cham,  time would tell.

The prison warden said one of the soldiers told him that even though Daba and co had been murdered, there are coup suspects still in active duty in the army. The warden said the soldier told him that Daba and co were killed to “discredit” evidence that was likely to emanate from the “March Coup” investigations.” Look out for part three of my prison diary. The NIA is being warned to avoid “distorting” my report in their briefing to Jammeh. This information I exposed online is credible and cannot be disputed. Intelligence failure led to theMarch  coup,  as claimed by Jammeh, and more intelligence failures are on the way. This country is far from being secured!!

Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 (Archive on Monday, July 16, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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