By Mustapha Jallow
A family in Kololi on Thursday 6 April 2017 conducted prayers in memory of their loved one, Mr. Alpha Bah, a former Army Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) presumed to be dead. They were informed by the police that he was summarily executed in 2006 under the former regime.
The residence of the late RSM Bah was filled with relatives, friends, youths, neighbours and sympathisers some of whom could not hold back their tears due to their grief and sorrow. The congregation of about 300 recited the holy Quran two times and prayed.
AJa Mariatou Jallow, the aging mother of the RSM, who was in tears and was speechless because she was overwhelmed by grief, said that after several enquiries have been made, she was informed that her son Alpha has been killed contrary to her belief that he was jailed.
The late RSM’s wife, Fatoumata Bah, said that she was informed about the arrest of her husband and when she enquired she was told that he (RSM Bah) was involved in a coup attempt in 2006. ‘‘Shortly after this we heard that he and others escaped, but I also heard rumours that they got killed though I never believed this until today when we received clear information that he was murdered. We were in darkness because during the former regime of Jammeh, the soldiers in the army were always afraid to reveal information,’’ she explained.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she spoke to journalists. She explained that when the new government was releasing some prisoners they were thinking that Alpha would be among them but that was not the case. ‘‘What I want this government to do, is to make effort and investigate where they buried our loved one and who are the people that killed him so that they can face justice because his children also deserve to know where they buried their father. I have two sons with him and we were married for ten good years,’’ she explained.
Mamadou Bah, RSM Bah’s brother explained: “He was arrested and killed by the Jammeh regime and who later informed the public that RSM Bah and his team were involved in a car accident while taking them to Janjanbureh Prisons which was not true.” He added that since that announcement nobody within Jammeh’s regime investigated the issue and even those who went to investigate where the vehicle had the accident were arrested much more the family members.
‘‘I never wanted to inform the mother but I had already known that they had killed him. I am calling on the coalition government to make effort to bring all those involved in the execution of our loved one to book and we also want to see where they buried them. The other issue is RSM Bah is survived by two children who are going to school and we are calling the government to help in the children’s education,’’ he asserted.
Mr. Bah also informs that after the arrest of RSM Bah, few days later some military officers came to their compound and took all his personal belongings, including his own vehicle to Fajara barracks and since then they couldn’t see that vehicle. The same applies to his bank book and his compound documents.
Sulayman Jorbateh, a close friend of late RSM Bah, described the RSM as a brave soldier and good human being who had sponsored his schooling and other things. He said his brother or friend is gone but his legacy is there. ‘‘What I have today is because of Alpha because I was a dropout and he took me back to school and paid my school fees, so we really want the government to investigate and exhume his remains for proper burial,’’ he stressed.
He stated that while he was at Alpha’s home he received a call from one who claimed to be calling from Fajara Barracks. He added the caller informed him that RSM Bah was picked up by a group of soldiers and taken to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) for questioning and since that day he has neither heard nor seen him.