By Yankuba Jallow
Ensa Keita returned from exile purposely to kill Musa Jammeh and his family in 2017.
Keita on Thursday told TRRC that he joined a terrorist group in the Republic of Niger purposely to come back and kill Musa Jammeh, his arch torturer during his detention in Kanilai.
Detained in Kanilai for one month twenty-one days, Keita said he was tortured on several occasions by Musa Jammeh alias Maliamongo, a brother to ex-President Yahya Jammeh. Keita said he witnessed the brutality of some of Yahya Jammeh’s squad of killers including Sanna Manjang, Musa Jammeh and Sulayman Sambou
In his narration, Keita said he was hired to work on former President Yahya Jammeh brother’s (Jalamang Jammeh), house but after the work he was not paid. He said one Aziz Tamba, a nephew of Yahya Jammeh was responsible for the contract, but after the work was completed, he refused to pay him. He said he was told by Aziz that the payment for the work will be done by Yahya Jammeh, but it will be after the job is completed. He said after the work, Aziz was supposed to pay him D135,000. He told the Commission that Aziz was not willing to pay him. He said all his attempts to get his money from Aziz failed, adding that there was a day when Aziz asked him for contract document that he signed with him.
He said he engaged the Alkalo and Imam of Kanilai to intervene to help him get his money from Aziz Tamba but both told him that they can’t help because they fear for themselves.
“One day, Aziz told me Yahya Jammeh said he won’t pay me. I told Aziz that he was telling lies. Aziz said I have insulted him and we quarrelled there. I was arrested and detained in a cell for two hours after which I was released,” the witness said.
He said when he was released, he went home. He told the Commission that he went back to Kanilai to Aziz asking for his money. He said Aziz still asked him to provide the contract document. He said after some chats, Aziz promised him that he will engage ex-President Jammeh to pay him. He said he went home and was called at night by Aziz to come for his money.
He said in the morning, he went to Kanilai with the hope that he was going to be paid his money not knowing that it was the beginning of his terror. He said he arrived in Kanilai at around 10 am and was waiting for Maliamongo at a nearby shop. He said while waiting, Musa Jammeh came for him and took him inside the residence of ex-President Yahya Jammeh where he was detained. He said his detention room (cell) was near the place where the armoured cars were stationed.
He said he was in that room from around 10 am to 11 pm without food and water.
“Musa Jammeh held my shirt and slapped me. Musa told me that I am a rebel. I told him that he was telling lies and Musa said I was insulting him and I must say I am a rebel before he releases me. I was hungry and feeling dizzy,” the witness said.
“When I told him that I was not a rebel, he (Musa) slapped me again and this was the time I kept quiet. Musa told me to admit that I am a rebel or else he will give me to the crocodiles to eat me,” the witness said.
He said Musa Jammeh never wanted him to mention the name of Aziz Tamba and the money that was why whenever he mentioned that name, Musa used to torture him.
“He slapped me again and asked me not to mention Aziz’s name,” the witness said.
He said he was told by the guard (one Badjie) that Musa Jammeh asked him not to give him food and water. He added that the guard told him that if he wants things sorted out, he should avoid mentioning the name of Aziz.
“Musa Jammeh used to come and take me out of my detention place. He used to beat me to his satisfaction and release me,” the witness said, adding “Musa after beating me would always ask whether I accept that I am a rebel. When I tell him I am not a rebel, he will beat me more.”
He said when they were beating him, the soldiers used to stretch him and that is the time Musa Jammeh will start the beating.
“Musa Jammeh used to tape my mouth so that my voice won’t be heard outside. Where I was detained was not far from the people,” the witness said.
He said on his 5th day in detention Sanna Manjang brought one Kajali Jammeh commonly called ‘le cock’ by the MFDC rebel group in Casamance. He said when Kajali was brought into the cell, he explained to him that he was arrested by Sanna Manjang in a drug deal.
In his narration, he said on his 12th day of detention, alleged serial killer Sanna Manjang came for Kajali and asked him to be brought out of the cell.
“Sanna told Kajali that he will be killed because he resisted arrest and fought him. Sanna said ‘you think you are more trained than me. I (Sanna told Kajali) am more trained than you and I will kill you today; I will cut off your head and take it inside the residence (of Yahya Jammeh) and give your body to the crocodiles to eat.’ This was exactly what Sanna told Kajali,” the witness adduced.
“Kajali was killed with the use of a cutlass. Sanna was standing facing Kajali and they were talking. Sanna told Kajali that I will kill you because you were part of the rebels who came with guns to the Gambia and create problems. Kajali told Sanna ‘I am a rebel and I belong to the MFDC group but I came to sell cannabis. I don’t come for any other purpose’. Sanna told Kajali, ‘your time is finished and you will die right now.’ Kajali said ‘I am not afraid of death and I know if I die you will meet me there.’ This angered Sanna and this was when he chopped off the head of Kajali with the cutlass. When Kajali fell, his head was cut off and put in a plastic bag,” the witness explained.
He averred that Sanna Manjang cut the body of Kajali into pieces and sent it to the crocodiles for feeding. The witness said Sulayman Sambou was present at the time Kajali was killed.
“Sulayman Sambou was the one who brought the plastic bag that the head of Kajali was put in,” the witness said.
He said he was told by Badjie (the officer who was guarding his cell) that Yahya Jammeh used people’s heads for his sacrifices.
“Badjie (the guard) told me that Kajali’s head which was put in the plastic bag was going to be handed to the President (Yahya Jammeh). I saw Sanna Manjang taking the head of Kajali to Yahya Jammeh’s residence,” the witness said.
He said on another day, a girl named Yama Colley was brought in his cell by Musa Jammeh together with his colleague killer called Jafajafa. Keita said at the time Yama was brought in the cell, she couldn’t walk and she was held by Musa Jammeh and Jafajafa on her shoulders. He added that he observed blood oozing from Yama’s private part, adding that he was with the belief that Yama was raped.
“When Musa and Jafajafa left the girl, was shouting and crying saying ‘I won’t see my parents again’,” the witness said.
The witness said the girl told him that she was informed by Musa Jammeh that there was job opportunity for her and that was why she came not knowing that she was going to be killed. He said while the girl was explaining how she came, Musa Jammeh came in and asked him (the witness) why he was questioning the girl.
“Musa held me and hit me with his fist. I fell down and Musa Jammeh said he will first damage me before killing me. Musa asked me to place my hands on the ground as he stamped me on my back and I fell down. This was the most painful torture meted on me,” he said.
He said Musa told him that he must say he is a rebel or else he will continue to torture him until he dies. He said after that torture, he couldn’t walk without leaning on the wall because his bones were weak.
When asked about what Musa Jammeh said about Yama, the witness said: “What Musa told Jafajafa was that ‘they (those who gave him the command) said we shouldn’t use knife to kill her because the blood that came out of her was enough. They said we should strangle her and take her corpse inside the residence of the President.”
The witness said at the time Yama Colley and Kajali Jammeh were killed, ex-President Yahya Jammeh was in Kanilai.
“When Kajali was killed, the following day I saw Yahya Jammeh with my eyes observing his lions and other wild animals,” the witness said.
The witness said Yahya Jammeh was aware of all the killings that were happening under his regime. The witness said Yama was a fair in complexion girl and she has some hairs on her chin.
“Badjie (the guard) told me that there were many people killed and used by Yahya Jammeh as sacrifice,” the witness said.
He said Badjie told him that when people are killed, the heads go to Yahya Jammeh for his sacrifices and the bodies are given to the crocodiles for food.
“Musa Jammeh told Badjie that he will get money the following day because Yama has bears. He also turned to me and told Badjie that ‘here is another food for the crocodile’,” the witness said.
On the killing of Yama, the witness said Musa Jammeh was the one who strangled Yama until she died and Sanna Manjang was called to cut her into pieces for the crocodiles.
“Musa Jammeh strangled Yama on the wall until she died. Sanna Manjang cut Yama the same way he cut Kajali. Yama was cut into three pieces,” the witness said.
He said the head of Yama was taken to the former President’s residence by Sanna Manjang and Musa Jammeh, adding that the corpse of Yama was put in a bag and taken for the crocodile to feed on.
He said on another day, at around 2 am, Bai Dam and Sheikh Faal were brought and killed by Sanna Manjang, Sulayman Sambou and two other soldiers. The witness said he did not witness the killing of the two, but he saw Manjang when he returned with his men.
“They were washing the blood stains on their clothes and hands. Badjie told me that these (two) men were killed because whenever a person is taken out at night, he will be killed,” the witness said.
He said Badjie told him that Sanna Manajang was a serial killer and people feared him.
He said on another day, three men were brought inside his cell. He said they were accused of stealing cattle. He said Sulayman Sambou stamped on one of them and broke his teeth. He said Sanna Manjang smoked cannabis before the three were put on board a pickup and taken away.
“The vehicle came back after they were taken away but I never see them again,” the witness said.
He said the corpses of the three never came back.
On his part, the witness said he lost one of his testicles when Musa Jammeh hit it. He said when Musa Jammeh attempted to hit the second one, a lady soldier came and pleaded to Musa not to continue hitting him on his testicles. He said the witness was a guard to Yahya Jammeh. He said Musa Jammeh lit a nylon and dropped the liquid from the melted nylon on him.
“While he was dropping the melted nylon on me, Musa was telling to accept that I am a rebel. I was shouting, but I refused to say I am a rebel. I told him I came to Azizz for my money and at this time, he began beating me and he beat me seriously,” the witness said.
He said one day a man was brought into his cell who was tortured severely. He said two days later, two Senegalese men were captured from Barra and brought to Kanilai to his cell. He said one of the Senegalese was called Pa Ous Jeng.
“These people were taken to the bush and they never came back. When they came from the bush, Sanna Manjang, Sulayman Sambou and some soldiers came washing their trousers. This time I saw blood on Sanna’s clothes. They all washed their clothes and hands at the pump,” the witness said.
He said there was a day when Musa Jammeh came for him and asked him whether he is ready to accept that he is a rebel or else face the consequence of his refusal.
“I still maintained that I am not a rebel and I know nothing about the guns he (Musa) was talking about. I told Musa that I came to collect my money from Aziz Tamba,” the witness said.
He said this was when Musa went home and changed clothing; this time he wore a short trouser. He said when Musa came back, his hands were tied at the back and he was forced to bend down on a table.
“Musa Jammeh hit me on my teeth and broke all my teeth. I fainted and I was not aware of anything going on in this world. I was there and night fell. I didn’t know what was happening. Musa came at night and told me I must accept that I am a rebel. I told him I am not a rebel but I will leave him with God. Musa became angry with my statement and he began beating me. He beat me until he was satisfied and left me there,” the tearful witness said.
He said Musa Jammeh said he will be killed because he won’t be allowed to go outside and explain what he saw particularly the killings he had witnessed. He said on the 21st day of the second month of his detention, Musa came for him and asked him to undress. He added that after undressing, Musa asked him to go to a room that was built by Yahya Jammeh believed to be a sacred house. He said he went there alone and when he arrived at the place, he was saved by Kawsu Camara alias Bombardier. He said Bombardier told him that Musa Jammeh instructed him to kill him, but he won’t kill him provided that he will leave the country. He added that Bombardier helped him to jump the fence and helped him crossed the checkpoint until he left the shores of the Gambia. He said he went to a village called Kantinba in Senegal and he was moved to another village by his friend Omar because of its closeness to Kanilai. He said after regaining strength, he moved to Nyofelleh in Kombo South District in the Gambia where he stayed and was helped by his nephew to fix all his teeth.
“I avoided going to Kombo because I don’t want to see men in uniform. I was only living in the provinces,” he said.
He said he was helped twice by Halifa Sallah to write a letter to ex-President Jammeh for justice. He said the first letter was not responded to but Sallah wrote the second one. He said Tumbul Tamba, a younger brother to Aziz Tamba called him and asked him to come for his money.
“It was a set up. Tumbul wanted to kill me,” he said, adding that “I told Tumbul that I won’t go. Tumbul said he will get me wherever I am in The Gambia.”
He said this was the time he prepared to leave the Gambia. He said he sold his 100 by 100 meter square land in Nyofelleh for a hundred thousand (D100,000) and fled to Kaolack in Senegal from where he continued to Bamako and finally to Ouagadougou. He said he further proceeded to Niamey in Niger and moved to Agades in the same country. That while in Agades, he had contacts with rebel/terrorist groups and joined them; that he was trained by the rebels in Niger because he wanted to come back to the Gambia to kill the entire family of Musa Jammeh.
“I learnt how to make guns and bombs,” the witness said.
He said the terrorists (rebels) used to send him on errands and they used to spend months in the desert training.
“I am not a terrorist. It was anger that led me to this. My intention was to eliminate Musa Jammeh and his family,” the witness said.
He said in 2013, he married a lady from Niger who convinced him not to continue the training with the terrorists. He said this lady was observing his movements and imposed herself on him. He said he has one child with this lady (Salma).
He said he does not have a piece of land for his family and things are very hard with him and his family.
He said his fingers were broken and his bones were damaged particularly his backbone and waist. He called on the TRRC and the entire country to help him acquire medication.
“I came purposely to eliminate Musa Jammeh and his family. I knew about Musa’s demise lately. When I came back I was inquiring his whereabouts because I was ready to die and he would have been killed with his entire family,” he said.
He said he wanted to prepare a barrel-bomb and explode it at Musa Jammeh’s residence.
“I know how to make guns. I can make bombs. I was ready to kill myself together with Musa Jammeh and his family. I would have died together with Musa Jammeh and his family,” he said.
He said he would have put the barrel bomb in a car and drove to Musa Jammeh’s residence and then explode it. He said if not for the TRRC, he would have prepared that explosive bomb and killed himself together with Musa Jammeh and his family.
“If not the TRRC, no one would have convinced me not to carry on with my plan to kill Musa Jammeh and his family,” he said.
He said right now he has given up with the plan after watching the testimony of Alagie Kanyi. He told the truth commission that he has forgiven Musa Jammeh for all he did to him.
TRRC will resume on the 16th of March 2020, at 10 am.