Another witness claims General Alagie Martin was part of the team that torture suspects of the 2006 foiled coup plot
Demba Dem, a native of Nyakoi village, has told the Truth Commission that the Junglers and members of the State Guards Battalion who were torturing suspects after the coup were under the influence of an alcohol.
Demba, now resident in Netherlands, was a lawmaker from former President Yahya Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party.
Dem was arrested and accused of involvement into the 2006 foiled coup plot led by Colonel Ndure Cham. Following his arrest, Demba was taken to Mile 2 prison where he was detained at the Security Wing at Cell Number 5 while he was still handcuffed.
In the post 2006 coup, several people were reportedly tortured. Dem said he has found several people at Mile 2 with wounds and swollen bodies and faces.
One of the victims of torture, he said he saw, was Ramsia Diab, a former nominated lawmaker. But 2 hours after he was dumped in a cell with a cuff around his wrists, security operatives suspected to be Junglers came for him and took him to headquarters of the National Intelligence Agency.
There, he said he met the famous General Alagie Martin with couple of ruthless security operatives beating people while drinking alcohol.
Martin, a confessed serial torturer, was mentioned by several witnesses to have tortured them. A prominent member of the elite State Guards Battalion, Martin was reported to have played a key role in the torture of the 2006 detainees.
Close to 70 people, according to Bunja Darboe, were taken into custody following the coup including security officials and civilians.
While Martin confessed to torturing some soldiers who were arrested, he categorically denied touching any civilian in connection to the coup.
“Out of a whole panel of investigators, why will I mentioned Alagie Martin alone…,” said Dem. The witness said Martin was at the NIA with his boys were drinking alcohol and beating people.
Under the Gambian law, lawmakers have parliamentary immunity and cannot be arrested while on the lawful execution of their work. However, Dem said he was arrested without any procedure being followed in her case.
He said he was long being targeted because of his critical positions on Jammeh’s wrong policies and rights violations. As a lawmaker, he said he had voiced opposition to Indemnity Act, a bill Jammeh brought into the lawmaking body to exonerate soldiers who killed students in April 2000.
Dem said he also opposed the Media Council Bill brought by the former strongman with intent to further muzzle the press. These have all affected his relations with Jammeh and Dem believes he was targeted for it.
He denied he was involved in the coup attempt.
Dem’s testimony continues tomorrow.