By Sheriff Saidykhan
On his final day of testimony at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), the former Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) Lieutenant General Lang Tombong Tamba on Wednesday said he was arrested on false allegations of taking part in the 2006 abortive coup.
Narrating how he was arrested, Tamba said he received telephone calls from both his wives informing him that soldiers had stormed his home asking for his whereabouts.
“I was at a football match and the soldiers went to my house; first in Kololi I was not there, and they proceeded to my other home in Bijilo. I then received a call from my wife in Kololi that the soldiers came there in two vehicles fully armed. When they arrived at my house in Bijilo, my second wife also called me. Then I was at the Serekunda East football park with a close friend, Ebrima Jallow. When I received the information I told my wife that I will be coming to the house to meet them,” he remarked.
General Tamba said he went and when he arrived at his home, he was whisked away that evening to the NIA headquarters in Banjul.
He said upon arrival at the NIA, he met the former Inspector General of Police Essa Badjie, and the former NIA Director General, Numo Kujabi but none of them he said told him why he was brought there.
He said after raising concern about his arrest, Essa Badjie informed him that they were acting on a directive from former President Yahya Jammeh, to arrest those involved in the 2006 foiled coup.
Answering questions from the TRRC lead Counsel Essa M. Faal, over the allegations of him being tortured at the NIA during interrogations, Tamba vehemently denied that he was ever tortured while detained at the NIA.
Narrating his experiences in detention, General Tamba said he was one day taken away from his prison cell by the Junglers to the swamps outside Banjul, trying to force him to confess to the allegations or be killed. He said it was one Saihou Jallow who intervened and rescued him from the Junglers.
“I was taken away by the Junglers to the Bund Road in the swamps. Somebody dressed in a Junglers’ uniform placed a gun on my head and asked me about my involvement in the coup. I told him that I was not involved in any coup,” he said.
General Tamba added that he was threatened that unless he told them what they wanted to hear, they would shoot him.
He said it was Saihou Jallow who asked them to stop. Tamba told the Commission that he was later driven by the Junglers to the NIA headquarters where he said he met Solo Bojang waiting for him and then gave instructions to the Junglers to torture him and his fellow detainees.
“Upon arrival at the NIA, we met Solo Bojang waiting outside and he instructed that they should lead us to the conference room and subject us to torture,” he alleged.
He said however that those Junglers knew that the allegations against them were false and were therefore reluctant to carry out the orders to torture him.
Tamba said the Junglers took him inside and pretended to be torturing him in order to give false impression to Solo Bojang. “They had some sticks which they were hitting on the tables so that if Solo Bojang heard that, he would believe that I was being tortured,” he concluded.