Human Rights

Account of a ‘failed coup d’état’

When news of the sacking of General Lang Tombong Tamba, once perceived as the most trusted ally of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, emerged, hell literary broke loose in the media, with all sorts of speculations hitting the airwaves as regard the actual motive behind the shocking and unexpected decision. The obviously unconvincing reasons forwarded by the president, coupled with the characteristic incoherent attitude of the government in subsequent days, which culminated in the mass arrest of scores of military and civilian personnel, strengthened the widely held speculations that there was more to the sacking of the General and co than was been perpetuated. The yet officially unannounced and continued detention of the general alongside key figures once viewed as President Jammeh’s most trusted men further intensified wild speculations regarding their arrest. And now, Jollonews has got hold of information, confirming the fears of majority of Gambians, which depict graphic details of the latest in a string of counter coups that have characterized this country since the unfaithful 1994 coup d’état that saw another democratically elected government removed by this same government. Sources at the heart of investigations of what has been dubbed the ‘Tobaski Coup d’état’ have unveiled the catastrophic reality our country was about to go through. The people arrested are alleged to have been effectively trying to topple the government of President Yahya Jammeh. The alleged plot, according to sources, was at an advanced stage when it was foiled, thanks to information said to have been obtained by Gambian intelligence officials allied to the president. Thirty (30) mercenaries of undisclosed nationalities, who underwent training in Guinea Bissau, were supposed to launch an assault on a totally unsuspecting nation on a day as sacred as the Ed-el Aha, commonly referred to as Tobaski in the Senegambia region, on November. Sources added that in all, six witnesses, all from Guinea Bissau, have been called in to testify as part of ongoing investigations. These witnesses were reported to have pointed out Ngor Secka, former agent of the controversial National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and, until his arrest and detention, a diplomat in Bissau, as a key player in the engineering of the conspiracy. Secka is said to have been holding regular meetings with the alleged mercenaries. He is also said to be behind some arms reportedly intercepted in Guinea Bissau. US based online Gambian news site, the Freedom Newspaper, on Tuesday November 15th 2009, reported that Guinea Bissau had impounded a ship loaded with arms destined for the Gambia. It quoted sources as saying that ‘‘the Government of President Jammeh believed that someone within the system might have secretly ordered the arms, with the aid of Coup_Detat‘influential business tycoons’ in the country, whose primary objective is to topple the 15 year Jammeh rule.’’ Our sources, however, did not say whether that Freedom Newspaper report was linked to this alleged coup. According to the sources, a Gambian with the initials OS, based in the United States, has been described by the witnesses as the main sponsor of the alleged coup. Col. Kawsu Kamara, aka Bombardier, was allegedly tasked with a specific assignment in Kanilai. He was supposed to create a security vacuum by deploying the so-called Black Scorpions (an elite Special Forces unit with special allegiance to President Yahya Jammeh) into the country’s hinterland. According to our sources, the weapons alleged to have been impounded in Guinea Bissau will almost certainly serve as exhibits during the course of an eminent trial. If all these allegations are corroborated by the investigation, it will unfortunately confirm just how bad it is for a country presently engulfed in uncertainty amidst political wrangling and other self-imposed troubles. One political observer described the situation as ‘‘a veritable retrogression in the country’s fledgling democracy.’’ It could be recalled that Jollofnews earlier on reported that President Yahya Jammeh had past orders that General Tamba and co be charged. It is still not clear when this shall be done.

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