By Ousman A. Marong
Ebrima Ismaila Chongan, former Commander of the defunct Gendarmerie, former armed unit of The Gambia Police Force in the First Republic, has said that the arrested officers in the aftermath of the July 1994 coup, spent 2 years and 6 months (30 months) in prison.
Chongan was testifying at the TRRC on Tuesday, the second day of the hearings at the Dunes Hotel in Koloi.
He said David Colley, a former prison boss and Thomas Jarju of the then prision guard commanders denied them (prisoners) from taking shower for over 30 days, while under detention at Mile 2.
He said while in prision, one Buba Jatta used to bring some cottons and to heal their wounds.
“Both Thomas Jarju and David Colley are from Kanilai and they used to sit together and laugh at us. Buba Jatta was somehow kind to us and when he shows us mercy, David Colley used to tell him in Mandinka “Balafa Beh longo lay bala” meaning mercy is shown to someone you know,” he revealed.
Chongan further disclosed that 1997 was the first time they appeared in court since after their arrest in 1994.
“This was the first time I saw my wife after having spent 8 months in jail. My wife came to attend the court with my 18-months-old. When I attempted to hold my child, she refused and was looking at her mom (my wife) and she asked who is this man? My wife started crying because my own daughter could not even recognise me,” he narrated.
Chongan further revealed that Sadibou Hydara was badly tortured in prision and his face was swollen before he died of torture in prison.