By Mafugi Ceesay
Former NIA boss, Lamin Bo Badjie, told the TRRC that former army major and Jungler Solo Bojang once took him out from his Mile 2 Prison cell with the intention to liquidate him on the purported orders of President Jammeh but he was saved by someone whose identity he didn’t want to make public.
In a daylong testimony at the commission yesterday, Badjie recounted that he was serving in the army before redeployment to the NIA as director of intelligence in August 2009. Three months later, he was implicated in a coup plot, arrested and detained at Mile 2.
He said he was subjected to interrogation at the NIA five times during three of which sessions he was tortured.
He said he was asked to falsely implicate former CDS Lang Tombong Tamba as part of the 2006 Ndure Cham coup plot, but refused. “NIA DG, Numo Kujabi, Major Solo Bojang and General Bora Colley ordered me to write my statement and I clearly stated that Mr Tamba was not part of the 2006 abortive coup and that MA Bah did not inform me of any coup. The then director of public prosecution asked me to implicate Lang Tombong and turn prosecution witness and then I would be freed and reinstated, I refused.”
He said he was returned to the prison where he spent three months, until one day when he was picked up by one Alagie Jobe and taken to the NIA conference room where upon entering, the lights were turned off.
“They put a plastic bag over my head and tried to suffocate me. I was blindfolded and mercilessly tortured by the NIA.”
Mr Badjie claimed he was among the nine prison inmates Jammeh wanted to kill but he was spared because his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in November 2014.
Mr Badjie said he fell out with President Jammeh after he refused to condone human rights violations.
When put to him that at least 50 people were unlawfully detained at the NIA while he was the boss, he responded that he was aware of the torture of only Lamin Kabou, a drugs squad officer.
He said his director, Momodou Hydara, bore the responsibility and rights violations.
“I knew about the rights violations at the NIA and that was why I summoned the senior officers and ordered that the culture of torture, unlawful detention, detention without trial and rights violations all be stopped. I always reminded my men of their responsibilities… I agree that some people were unlawfully detained for months without access to court of law or being charged.”
He said he wanted “to do something” about the torture of Lamin Kabou but did not get any approval from President Jammeh.
He said he personally handed Lamin Kabou to his deputy and asked that Kabou be taken for interrogation.
“I called Bun Sanneh and informed him that one of his officers [Kabou] was accused of obstructing his [NIA] men and after having confirmation from Bun, I asked that Mr Kabou be brought to the NIA and be interrogated but upon my return, I found out that he was badly tortured by men.”
However, he admitted that despite Mr Kabou’s torture, he continued to be detained at the agency for at least two months.