By Nelson Manneh
Adversely mentioned by dozens of witnesses before the Truth Commission (TRRC) and described as one of the Torturers at the spy agency, Lamin M. Darboe, has vehemently denied to have maltreated detainees at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), saying he never tortured anybody.
Born on 12th June 1976 in Jarra Burreng, Mr. Darboe was alleged to be one of the notorious torturers at the NIA. Some witnesses whose rights were abused by NIA officers said apart from Alagie Morr, Lamin Darboe was the worst torturer who enjoyed beating detainees at the NIA.
He said the allegations leveled against him were untrue, saying they were concocted by witnesses.
Meanwhile, Darboe said he stopped at grade nine and joined the NIA in 1999. He was posted as gate security at the NIA headquarters. He would later be transferred to be an orderly to Daba Marana, Harry Sambou and Pa Jallow who were all director generals at different time.
The witness said he was later transferred to the investigation unit. Whilst at the investigation unit, he said one of their DG, Pa Jallow, created another unit at the NIA called the Special Operation Unit. He would rose to the rank of head of the unit.
Darboe opined that torturing somebody is different from beating the person, while adding that he cannot remember beating detainees or any other person at the NIA.
Asked about Lamin Kabu and Bissau Guineans who were allegedly arrested on suspicion of dealing in drugs, Darboe said when the NIA Officers went to carry out the operation in Brikama the alleged people ran and they followed them, but they could not apprehend them.
He said from there, he went and spent the night in a guest house in Bakoteh.
Witness Darboe said while they were at the guest house in the morning, they saw a man who came to the restaurant. He said when the man entered, he followed him and the man began to run. Darboe ran after him and the man wanted to scale over a fence so he gave a warning shot. He said the man wanted to scale over the fence regardless of the gun shot, so he shot him on his leg and captured him.
“I shot him because he was a threat to me and the shooting is what makes us recover the money and the drugs,” he said.
Witness Darboe said the function of the Special Operations Unit was to carry out executive orders, night patrol and were also in charge of enforcing changes when a Minister was sacked by the President. He said when they were arraigned before the court concerning Lamin Kabu’s issue, Mr. Kabu himself told the court that he (Darboe) did not beat him.
“I was not aware of Lamin Kabu’s arrest, his torture and subsequent detention,” he said.
For Abass Jarju, the witness said he was informed by one Louis Gomez that the DG said he (Darboe) should go and arrest Abass Jarju. said Mr. Jarju was arrested at Yankuba Badjie’s residence.
“I was the only one who arrested Abass Jarju and took him to the NIA headquarters,” the witness said.
Darboe said he interrogated Abass Jarju in his office and Jarju complied and gave him the information he was finding which he relayed to Yankuba Badjie, the DG at the time. He said they later went for the boxes that were said to have money in them. He said when they brought the boxes, they opened them and found out that they were empty.
Witnss Darboe said they further interrogated Jarju who mentioned one Joko and they went and arrested him too. He said Joko called his brother who showed them where the boxes were and they went for them.
“When my boys went for the boxes…before they came, Yankuba Badjie informed the President Yahya Jammeh that they saw the money. When we opened the boxes we found out that there was no money,” he said.
The witness said on that same day, they were able to see the boxes that were having the money and noticed it was false money. Darboe said he took Jarju to the torture chamber to threaten him. He said the DG at the time was present at the torture room and the reason for taking Jarju there was to torture him if he refused to confess.
With regard to one Sarjo Touray, the witness said he was part of the team that arrested him at his house. He said after arresting him, they took him to the NIA headquarters in Banjul, but he did not beat or torture him.
Darboe said he was not aware of the existence of butchers in Abuko that were dealing with Yahya Jammeh. He admitted to participating in arresting a lot of people, but never tortured them. He recalled to have arrested one Drammeh of GNPC and handed him over to the NIA.
The witness said he was once offered a scholarship from the Attorney General Chambers to go to Nigeria to study law, but he refused to go because he knew he cannot do it.