By Ousman A. Marong
Hon. Demba Dem, former APRC Parliamentatrian for Niani Constituency has revealed that Alhagie Martin, a former Lieutenant (in 2006), now Brigadier General , slapped him while he was on handcuff until he fell down. He said this happened during his interrogation by the state security agents (NIA, police and the Army) at the headquarters of the defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in Banjul, in March 2006.
The former Parliamentarian was accused of being part of an alleged coup plot against the former President Yahya Jammeh in 2006, staged by the former military chief, the late ex-CDS Col. Ndure Cham. Hon. Dem was arrested and detained at the NIA alongside other civilians and members of the Gambia Armed Forces who were all suspected of a coup plot against Jammeh’s former regime.
Testifying before the Gambia’s maiden Truth , Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), Hon. Dem who is based in The Netherlands, where he sought had since sought asylum after his release from prison, said via Skype, that he was given a nasty slap by General Alhagie Martin whom he said was heading the former dictator Jammeh’s hit squad widely known as the Jungulars.
He added that he was also tortured by the said Jungulars following his denial of having any knowledge about a coup plot.
Hon. Dem also disclosed that the Jungulars tortured him seriously and took him back to the State Central Prison at the Mile II.
According to him, the panel of investigators who were interrogating him at the NIA headquarters in Banjul include: Foday Barry, a former NIA officer; Baba Saho, also an NIA officer; Sergeant Omar Cham and Boto Keita, both of whom were from the Gambia Police Force; Abdoulie Kujabi, a former NIA officer; Alhagi Martin, formerly of the State House; former Interior Minister Ousman Sonko; Lt. Gen. Lang Tombong Tamba, former CDS; and Momodou Hydara, an ex-NIA officer.
“The team of the investigators put me in their middle and they surrounded me, and started to interrogate while beating me up,” he explained. The former Niani MP explained how Momodou Hydara, the then Director of Operation at the NIA threatened him to talk or risked being killed.
“I was taken to the Maximum Security Wing Cell Number 5 , where the late Tumbul Tamba masterminded my tourture,” he further revealed;
And said: “I was detained at Mile ll prison for one year and 9months where I was later charged with two accounts of treason and felony.”
Hon. Dem also told the TRRC that he was later acquitted and discharged by the court.