By Yankuba Jallow
Ebrima Ismaila Chongan, a former Deputy Inspector General of Police said Captains Sanna Sabally and Sadibou Hydara were tortured while they were under detention at Mile II by the military junta.
Chongan is the first witness at the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC).
He said Sabally and Hydara were among the leaders of the soldiers who overthrew the government of president Jawara. He added that at that time, The Gambia was ruled by decree.
‘After the torture on Sadibou Hydara and Sanna Sabally, I usually see one Doctor Gaye who comes to treat Hydara who was facing complications. At one time I saw his face swollen,” he said.
On the cause of the death of Hydara, the witness said he wouldn’t know the cause of his death because they weren’t in the same security wing. He added that whilst they were in Mile II, they listened to Radio Gambia announcement where it was mentioned that he died as a result of chronic high blood pressure.
The witness maintained that President Jawara communicated to the coup leaders before joining a naval ship that took them to Senegal.
According to the witness, he was the only officer who had opposed the coup makers by firing gun at them.
‘Why did you fire at the coup makers and why did you stop firing?” asked the commission lawyer.
“I fired at them because I was defending the Constitution and I stopped because I realized that I was the only one who fired at them. It was suicidal to continue firing,” he replied
“Do you know Jammeh, the leader of the coup makers? Asked the lead Counsel.
“He used to come to me to beg for money and other things like food. We were neighbours and I trained him in the Gendarmerie,” he said.
“If you were asked to describe the attitude of Jammeh, how would do that?” the counsel asked.
“Jammeh does drink alcohol. When I knew he was the leader, I knew that the Gambia was going to be in trouble,” he said.
He said on the 15 June 1995, Major Malick Njie, Captain Ebrima Kambi, Captain Sanna Sabally, Captain Kebba Ceesay, Coporal Alagie Kebbeh were all summoned at the defence headquarters where they were told that they will be arraigned at a court-martial.
On 28 October 1996, the witness said many officers were released by the President including Captain Ndour Cham, Sheriff Gomez, Ousman Badjie and others.
“Only four of us were left in the prison and we were Inspector General Pa Sallah Jagne, Captain Ebrima Kambi, ASP Kebba Dibba and myself,” he said.
He adduced that Magistrate Bory S. Touray was dismissed by the Junta when he acquitted and discharged them.
“They dismissed Magistrate Touray because he acquitted and discharged us,” he said.
The witness produced newspaper publications as regard to his case and they were tendered before the commission and marked as Exhibits.