By Yankuba Jallow
Sainey S. Faye, a detainee in October 1994, on Wednesday February 13th 2019, gave a horrendous account of the torture that was meted on him at the hands of National Intelligence Agents and the Fajara Barracks.
Sainey said he was born in Sanjal Sarakunda village in the North Bank Region; that in 1973, he was a junior clerk posted at State House; that he has also worked for the Foreign Service Ministry, and resigned in 1981, to venture into business.
Sainey started his narration that in October 1995, he was arrested by a group of men in the persons of Ousman Tamba, Musa Kinteh, Momodou Pika Jallow and other NIA operatives; that before the arrest, he he went to the American Embassy to collect a visa application form for his brother, one Suma Faye, and was forcefully arrested; that during the cause of his arrest, there was a scuffle and Tamba’s senior who was one Sainey Manneh, asked them to move from the Bakau area because the Americans may be seeing them.
“I did not agree to join the group, and was forced to join them. I fought with them but they over powered me and in the end, they broke my leg,” he told Commissioners.
Faye said it was Sainey Manneh and his boys, together with some soldiers, who assaulted him and broke his leg. “They beat me and tore my shirt and trouser. They were kicking me mercilessly,” he said.
Sainey Faye said they he was forced into a vehicle and taken to the Kairaba Police Station, where he was searched; that nothing was found on him except his praying beads. Faye adduced that at the time he was taken to the Police station, he struggled and had crawled to go inside the station; that he was later transferred to NIA headquarters in Banjul, were he and his co-arrestees were received by the then Director of Operation, Daba Marenah, Baba Saho, Salmina Drammeh, Musa Kinteh and others, together with some soldiers from the State House.
Faye said they were put in a hall and Daba Marenah called them one by one for interrogation; that Marenah told him that one Bakary Camara, reported him to the NIA that his shop was used for an anti-government meeting.
On his recount of the torture that was meted on him, the witness told the Commission that he was undressed and the torturers used electric shock on him; that his interrogators were telling him: ‘before you people kill us, we will kill you first.’ “They used electric shock on my whole body. They were kicking and beating me at the same time. They even kicked me on my broken leg,” he said emotionally.
He alleged that his torturers were mainly the State Guard soldiers with some NIA officers; that the electric shock was done on his back, ear, private part and other parts of his body, because it was done randomly; that one of his torturers was Wandifa Saidy Jeng from Sanjal Sarrakunda.
“I sustained injuries from my whole body including my jaw and private part. Daba Marenah was supervising the whole torture that was carried on me and the others, and the one who was using the electric shock, was from State House,” he said.
Faye said they were later transferred to Fajara Barracks and detained in an old garage for about 14 months; that amongst the people who were arrested, were businessmen and traders; that these people were picked up by agents of the NIA including some soldiers. Faye described the garage in which they were held as a big, with only one exit which he referred to as the entrance; that there was no ventilation. He said the garage had old machines packed within and that the place looked dirty.
He explained that they were kept under detention without any family access or access to a lawyer; that there was one Sergeant Sonko who through his generosity, used to smuggle food from OJ’s home and bring it to them; that after this was discovered by the junta, Sonko was dismissed from being a soldier; that one Alagie Kanyi alias ‘mofa kanyi’, tortured Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, the current Vice President of the country in their presence, inside the garage; that the then Inspector General of Police E. Jammeh, tortured a brother of Sahou Sabally which resulted to his death, shortly after their release.
When asked whether he was told the reasons for his arrest, he responded in the negative; that he had their names were mentioned on BBC radio and that it was reported that they wanted to collaborate with Captain Ebou Jallow, to invade the country. Faye said whilst they were under detention, one Almamo Manneh and a soldier alias ‘bombardier’, came to there, and trampled on their backs; that ‘bombardier’ tortured a woman who was seeing her period by stamping her on her stomach; that this led to the woman to bleed profusely. Faye said before this, Almamo ordered the soldiers to beat them and this was carried out mercilessly, that it during this process that the hand of Mustapha Ceesay, a former permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, was broken. “Most of us fainted and some had their hands broken,” he said.
He said the soldiers promised to come back and continue from where they stopped; that for some time, they brought in OJ who was also severely tortured and was bleeding on his body, including his eyes. He said later they brought in MC Cham and the late Ousainou Njie, who he said were all tortured severely, by the soldiers under the command of Almamo Manneh.
Faye said he was charged on five criminal counts including sedition and conspiracy to commit an act with seditious intent; that they were prosecuted by Fatou Bom Bensouda, the current prosecutor at the International Court of Justice. Faye narrated that Bensouda’s application for an extension of time, kept them in detention for more than a year, without any progress on their case. He said Bensouda made an application for their detention to be extended for 90 days, that when that elapsed, she made another application for an extension; that this continued until they were held for over a year.
Faye said when charges on their case was dropped by the State, the then Minister of Interior Lamin Kaba Bajo, ordered for their re-arrest and subsequently they were charged with treason; that they were never arraigned before a Court of law for this offence.
Faye said whilst under detention, owls made several attempts to invade the garage due to the bad ordour that was coming from within; that there was a point when the guards sought command from their seniors and fired at the owls; that CDS Baboucar Jatta was the one who released them.
On the impact that the detention had on him and his family, Faye said that many of those detained alongside him, are now dead because of the torture they were subjected to; that because of the torture, he is now paralyzed; that the education of his children was disrupted and they were not able to continue, because the sole bread winner who was giving the support, was incarcerated for no reason.
“When I was released, my business as an importer of goods, collapsed,” he said.