By Ousman A. Marong
Lt. General Lang Tombang Tamba, former Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) on Tuesday told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) that he was removed as a member of the panel charged with interrogating suspects of the 2006 attempted coup after he recommended to former President Yahya Jammeh to release Sheriff Mustapha Dibba, former Speaker of the National Assembly, who was detained and being interrogated as a suspect of the coup attempt.
In his testimony, General Tamba said former President Jammeh was not happy with his advice that Mr. Dibba was not implicated in the coup attempt, and therefore did not agree with his assessment.
Answering questions from the lead counsel, General Tamba confirmed that the ‘Junglers’ were part of the interrogation panel at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) premises in Banjul. He however said their only role was to collect the detainees from the Mile Two Prisons and return them after the interrogation. He denied that anyone of the suspects was tortured to obtain confessions from them.
General Tamba said he was the one who foiled the coup while President Jammeh was on a visit to Mauritania and that the first person to be arrested was Lt. Bunja Darboe. It was the same day he said that President Jammeh arrived back from Mauritania and he (President Jammeh) formed the panel. He said President Jammeh was apparently not happy with the progress of the panel and he later instructed that Baba Saho and Foday Barry, former NIA officials be added to the panel.
However, General Tamba said the ‘Junglers’ were not under him but that they were answerable directly to the President. Therefore, he said he had no control over their actions.
General Tamba continues his testimony before the TRRC.