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MC Cham narrates nightmare in military detention


The veteran politician, arrested multiple times by the Junta, said his woes started when he gave a newspaper interview defending the achievements of the People’s Progressive Party.


A veteran Gambian politician, Mamadou Cham alias MC Cham, has described before the Truth Commission the horrific conditions under which he and his colleagues were kept while under detention at the Fajara Barracks.

Cham, an elder statesman and veteran politician, was one of the senior government officials rounded up and detained at Fajara Barracks following the coup. They were allegedly subjected to torture and several degrading treatments while in detention.

He was arrested several times before his detention at Fajara with prominent people like Omar Jallow and Ousainou Darboe. Cham said they were stripped naked at Fajara Barracks and asked to sit on a wet floor.

The 80-year old man broke into tears as he explained how he was hit by a stick by Almamo Manneh whom he described as “callous”.

“My clothes were soaked in blood,” he said.

“I felt humiliated and disgraced. I felt very bad. These (treatment) was done to me by people I can father.”

Cham had earlier in his testimony explained his personal relationship with the father of one of the coup leaders, Edward Singhateh. He said Edward’s father Gabriel Singhateh and him have attended the same school and they were childhood friends.

And before the coup, the Singhateh family were living at his compound at no cost. But after the coup, they left for a state building that was housing the Nigerian armies who were in the country.

Cham is the 14th witness to appear before the Commission which started the second phase of its hearing on Monday. The Commission which started hearing on January 7 was resuming from a 2-week holiday.

In this second phase the Commission will probe the November 1994 allege killings of close to two dozen soldiers.

Meanwhile, the former PPP minister made a submission to the Commission on his three properties that were seized by the junta “without any legal basis”.

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