By Omar Bah
General Ousman Bargie, a former head of the Gambia Armed Forces has said in a recent Standard interview that there were plans to assassinate him during the political impasse.
General Bargie claimed that Sana Manjang and Nuha Badjie were among the people Jammeh tasked to assassinate him after he informed him [Jammeh] that the security forces will not fight for him if he refused to step down following his election defeat.
He said the first attempt was an ambush on the Banjul Highway when he was coming from work to his Mile 7 home whiles the second attempt happened when he was coming from confirming a rumour that some soldiers were holding a meeting to fight for Jammeh.
“But the third attempt was the most serious, according the information I gathered and what I saw with my own eyes. This time they split into groups, one group deployed to my residence in Mile 7, another to the shooting Range in Brikama to dig my grave because the plan was when they get me they were going to tie me up and put me into the grave alive and then shoot me,” he revealed.
He continued: “So when I was tipped about their coming I left my house to a junction after Radio Gambia. Some of them were searching for me all over and it was during that time that one of them came around the place I was hiding. I slapped him and they got panic and runaway and I could hear them throwing their riffles into the pickup. When they failed to kill me they instead killed an animal somewhere, rubbed the blood on a soldier and took his picture and showed it to Jammeh to give him the impression that they have killed me. It was only when I granted BBC an interview the following day that Jammeh knew I was alive but before he could do anything, everything was over for him.”
Asked why he was targeted by Jammeh General, Bargie replied: “When Jammeh rejected the election I called him but his orderly picked the phone and insisted that I should relay my message to him (orderly) and then he will relay it to Jammeh. I informed him that I have heard Jammeh’s announcement refusing the election results. I told him to inform Jammeh that the armed and security services with the exception of the State Guard were not going to fight. This was why Jammeh had nothing to bite and so was his decision to go to exile.”
Bargie said after receiving his message, Jammeh called him to confirm whether he really meant what he said.
“I repeated the same message to him. He told me but I appointed you. I said to him yes, but my task was to ensure his (Jammeh) safety and the safety of the Gambian people and the interest of the Gambian people supersedes his interest. When I said that he banged the phone on me; you know sometimes he is too aggressive. I knew what that meant because I worked with him for several years. So I was ready for myself because I knew my life was in danger. It was from that day that I stopped my security from following me with the exception of official duties because I never wanted them to be hurt if I am attacked. I love my soldiers”.
Asked whether he has ever attempted to question the formation of the junglers, the hit squad accused of many atrocities, Bargie replied: “I know about the Junglers. I was told they were the ‘black black’ but I have never questioned Jammeh on why he formed them and I never asked him to dismantle them either. I knew they were soldiers but when he was forming them he did not inform me. I will not lie.”
The former army chief also opined that extraditing Yahya Jammeh before restructuring the security sector would be extremely dangerous.
“It would not be safe for Jammeh to come back to the country now before restructuring the security. There will be trouble because there are people who will be tempted to create trouble to destabilize the country even though they know Jammeh will never bounce back to power,” he said.
General Bargie added that Jammeh may at one point come back as an ordinary citizen but he will never lead this country again. “Not in this world. Not in the next five hundred years. Not with all his