By Yankuba Jallow
Lamin Darboe, a witness before the TRRC has on Tuesday alleged that he was tortured by agents of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and former President Jammeh’s Green Boys.
In 2013 while working at Brikama Health Centre, his boss late Sainey Mendy was treating a child suffering from burns. He said after treating the child, his boss prescribed medication for the child which was not available at the hospital. The witness said he decided to go outside the hospital to buy the prescribed medicine for the child at a nearby pharmacy. He said it coincided with a Set-Settal day and all shops including pharmacies were closed down. The day was set aside by the government for nationwide cleansing exercise. The witness said as a result of the Set-Settal, he couldn’t get the prescribed medication for the child.
He said on his way from the pharmacy, a woman confronted him and asked him whether the hospital was operating. The 34-year-old said when he told the woman that the hospital was in operation, a man came on a bicycle and asked him what he was telling the woman. He said the man slapped him and asked him why he was insulting Yahya Jammeh. He told the TRRC that in the former regime only security personnel and NIA operatives have the courage to do that to people. He said the man slapped him for the second time, but when he stopped the man from slapping him for the third time, they began fighting. He detailed that the Green Boys who were watching them joined the man (the NIA agent) and they ‘terrorized’ him. The witness adduced that the Green Boys wore uniforms and combat gears and they had whips to terrorize people. He said an NIA agent was present during the beating.
He testified that as negotiations were ongoing, one Police Officer, Jawo arrived and the NIA told him that he (Darboe) was insulting Yahya Jammeh. He said Jawo slapped him and he made orders for his arrest. He said five paramilitary officers came from the Brikama Police Station and Jawo asked them ‘to deal with me’ while taking me to the police station.
Mr. Darboe recollected that he was brutalized by the PIU Officers, but one Lamin Kanteh alias Jassong arrived and spoke to the paramilitary. He said Jassong told the officers that they should not be beating people while civilians were watching. He alleged that the tormentors poured water on him and he was stripped naked in the presence of policewomen.
He told the Commission that after torturing him, the paramilitary threw him inside a cell and he was the fourth person in that cell. He said he slept on a bare cement floor that night and the following day, he was moved to the main police station. He said he was detained at the Brikama Police Station for five days and he was released on bail.
“My waist is my main problem and this problem came about after I was tortured by the PIU,” the witness said.
Lamin Darboe, born in Foni Kandunku on the 25th November, 1986 now resides in Sukuta Nema. He said after completing his senior school, he joined the Red Cross as a Volunteer. In 2009 he became an Assistant Nurse at Brikama Major Health Centre.