By Yaya Dampha
After almost three months in detention at the notorious Mile II prisons, former Gambian Chief of Defence Staff, General Lang Tombong Tamba, has finally been charged for treason, according to unimpeachable sources in Banjul. The General is accused alongside four others of attempting to oust the government of Yahya Jammeh, himself a former military Lieutenant who came to power after overthrowing a democratically elected president, Sir Dawda Jawara, in 1994. However, the government has never issued any public statement on the reasons for the series of arrests that were followed by rumours of foiled coup. General Tamba’s four other accomplices include senior military and police officers. A number of other civilians were also detained then. According to our sources in Banjul, President Yahya Jammeh, today Thursday January 21, 2010, gave the directives to charge all four security personnel for ‘‘treason and attempt to commit felony.’’ The four other officers are General Omar Bun Mbaye, General Kawsu Bombardier Kamara, Lamin Bo Badjie, formerly Deputy Director General of the highly feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and Momodou Gaye, former Deputy Inspector General of police. According to our sources, the five are likely to appear before a court martial within these days. What is not yet clear is if the civilian detainees have also been charged. However, observers have questioned the illegality of taking the accused before a military court martial, given that at the time of their arrest they were no longer in the service, and therefore not governed by any military law. It will therefore be of a fundamentally illegal move, they argue, to have these men tried in a military court. But given the legal conditions that prevail in the Gambia these days, nothing can be ruled out. It could be recalled that General Tamba and co were arrested in the month of November. It has being reported that they have been denied access to their families and lawyers, which suggest some form of human rights violations. And, unfortunately, is seen as a signal that they might not have a free and fair trial. Jollofnews will keep our readers posted on the progress of the forthcoming trial.
General Tamba, co charged with treason
By Yaya Dampha