By Yankuba Jallow
A long time orderly to former President Yahya Jammeh said he was tortured and detained for over a month on allegation that he removed the firing pins of the former president’s weapon.
Yusupha Sanneh was an orderly to Yahya Jammeh for 10 years.
He said sometime in 2012, he was arrested and tortured by Brigardier General Alagie Martin, the then Personal Protection Officer (PPO) to former President Jammeh.
“Martin hit and dragged me downstairs. Captain Nuha Badjie put the cuffs in my hands and I was thrown in their truck and they drove to the NIA,” he said.
He said he was detained in a dark cell at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). He said at around 2 pm, he was brought out of the cell and the then Deputy Director of NIA Louise Gomez and one Jobarteh asked him what had happened.
“I told them I don’t know why I was brought there,” the witness said.
He said Louise Gomez told him that the former President said he was the one who removed the firing pins of his weapon. He said Gomez and Mendy returned him to the cell and left.
He said at night, General Saul Badjie and Nuha Badjie came to the NIA around 2 to 3 am in the morning. He said he was handcuffed and taken to a room at the NIA.
“They said let me take off my trouser. They took off my handcuff and took off my shirt. I was naked even my underwear was removed. They put the handcuff on me again and they did not put on the lights of the room,” the witness said.
He said General Badjie called the former President in his presence.
“I heard Yahya Jammeh speaking to General Badjie instructing him to make things hot on me,” he said.
“They had rubber whips that they used on me. There are marks on my back that I got from the beatings that night,” he said.
He said Alagie Martins was not present at the time he was been tortured. He said the torture took about 45 minutes to an hour.
“They were just hitting me because I was lying. My hands were still cuffed but my legs were not cuffed. I was lying sideways. I have a problem with my back until today,” he said.
He said after the torture, they took off the handcuff and they took him back to the cell.
“I was put inside the cell without food. I drank water on the third day,” he said.
He said he was detained from the 12th April to the 29th May. He said while under detention at the NIA, he did not receive any treatment.
He said his mother and father were arrested from Siffoe and detained for a week at the NIA.
“I was not aware of the detention of my mother and father at the NIA until when I was released. When I called my father after my release, he told me they were threatened at the NIA. My father told me they pointed guns at them and they were asking what I have given them,” the witness said.
“My mother was blind and she was also threatened,” the witness said.
He said at the time my parents were arrested, his father was about 80 – years – old while his mother was about 65 years.
“When they released my father, he had stroke and we are still treating him on this,” he said.
He said after his release, he was returned to the State House and he continued as an orderly to the former head of state. He said the first 6 months, his relationship with the former president deteriorated. He added that after the 6 months Yahya Jammeh became hostile on him. He said in March 2014, the former President demoted him from 2nd Lieutenant to Warrant Officer Class 2 and in September the same year, he (Jammeh) demoted him to the rank of Corporal.
He said when he went with Yahya Jammeh to America, he escaped and he went to live with his friend there.
He said during their time at the State House, they were not allowed access to the internet to read newspapers or Facebook. He said they were in the dark.
He said he was detained in the United States of America after he was mentioned at the TRRC by Malick Jatta. He said he came voluntarily to come and shed light on the allegation on him.
He said the “junlers” have black uniform and their AK47 have grenade launchers attached on them.
He said there was a particular night when he went with Tumbul Tamba, Bora Colley, Malick Jatta, Sanna Manjang, Bai Lowe among others. He said there were eight individuals whose hands were tied by Malick Jatta around Palma Rima and taken to Yahya Jammeh’s garden in Kanilai. He said the 8 were taken to the bush and shot with repeated gunshots. He told the Commission that Bora Colley asked him and Bai Lowe together with a few others to stay in the vehicle.
He said Solo Bojang told their driver that the captured individuals were mercenaries who wanted to destabilize the country.
“When they left, we heard gunshot which lasted for about 45 minutes,” the witness said.
He said when Tumbul Tamba and co. returned, he threatened to kill anyone who discloses the information.
“Tumbul Tamba told us whoever discloses anything would follow the dead,” he said.
He said after the execution, they returned to Yahya Jammeh’s residence in Kanilai, but they changed their route.
He denied Malick Jatta’s testimony that he was present at the time of the execution of Daba Marenah and others. The witness said Jatta still holds grudges against him and his colleague Saikou Jammeh, as orderlies to the former President. He added that Jatta was envious of them because they were the people travelling with the former President everywhere he goes.
“Malick Jatta has bad intention against us,” he said.
His Relationship with Yahya Jammeh
He said he was very close to the former President. He described the former head of state as someone who does good things for them, but temporarily. He said sometime Jammeh used to beat them with a whip whenever he finds them sleeping.
“He used to do that a lot,” he said.
He said Jammeh used to spray mosquito spray on their eyes when they sleep or slumber.
“We used to cough until sometime we cough blood,” he said, adding that “he was used to that and it was always happening.”
He said there was a day when Yahya Jammeh found him lying and his eyes were close though he was not sleeping and he used his sword and hit him on his head.
“Blood was oozing, but he turned and left me there,” he said.
He said the former head of state used to insult them and their parents.
He said Yahya Jammeh does not guard his language and he says or does whatever he feels like.
“He (Jammeh) once told me that I will die like a dog and that my corpse will be picked on the highway by dogs. He used to threaten me,” the witness said.
He said any orderly that Jammeh wants to do away with will be accused of committing an offence particularly theft.
He said he was the orderly to Yahya Jammeh from 2006 to 2014 at the State House.
The witness adduced that Yahya Jammeh loves women and there were women who used to come to Kanilai at odd hours. He said the former President used to invite women to come and brew ‘attaya’ for him or to grill. He said this used to happen when Zineb Jammeh travels adding that she used to travel frequently.
“We were supposed to escort the Steward to take the ‘attaya’ to him but when the women or female soldiers brew it, he ordered that we should allow them to bring it for him,” he said.
He said when the women take the ‘attaya’ to the former President; they used to spend some time there – sometime half an hour or sometimes an hour.
“The former President used to call female soldiers to come and brew ‘attaya’ for him,” he said.
He said this used to happen very late at night or in the early hours of the morning.
“Even if we knew what was happening, none of us dears to disclose this,” he said, adding that “as orderlies, we were always inside the building.”
“I cannot say what the former President does inside the house with the women because I do not go close to the room,” he said.
He said the former President used to receive women from other countries.
“I sometime see these women massaging the feet of the former President. This happened when we are on a tour,” he said.
He was provided a list of women who he identified as those who used to have affairs with the former President. The list was about 30 women and he identified about 15 who used to come to former President at his residence in Kanilai.