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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Letters : Open letter from Halifa Sallah to Omar Jallow

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Dear Mr Jallow,

Subject: Your account of my detention in 2005 was wrong

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I am still wondering what you were trying to prove by giving a distorted account of where I was detained in 2005 when we were arrested as members of the NADD leadership and arraigned before Justice Paul charged, with Sedition.

For your information, the use of the carrot and stick tactics by security agents is a byproduct of psychological warfare which regimes use to tame their critics and ensure forced confession. Torture is meted to break the spirit of the victim. Those who wish to win the psychological warfare must display resilience so that the agents would be convinced that they are not susceptible to torture to give false confession.

When I was arrested on Friday I was not taken to any police station. I was taken to the NIA Headquarters after they announced that I had absconded which led me to call Alhaji Seringe Faye to tell him that the broadcast was false before leaving with NIA Officers. This is what led my wife to write a letter to Jammeh to confirm that she witnessed my arrest and any claim of absconding was a fabrication.

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The letter I wrote to Jammeh which led to the arrest would be published again as part of my open letter to the TRRC.

I do not know when you and Mr. Hamat Bah were arrested and where you were taken before you reached Mile Two Central Prisons.

What is certain is that I stayed in a cell at the NIA where I defied sleep for two nights and was removed on the third day when they knew that they would never succeed in getting me to lie or sit on a floor powdered with ashes. Instead of being struck by despair I nursed my curiosity in doing more findings on what goes on in that building. I guess they did not want me to know more. Hence I was taken to the maximum security wing, at Mile Two where I was detained in the cell block where Ex-Mayor Abdoulie Conteh and Ex-Interior Minister Samba Bah were also detained. When Abdoulie Conteh was arrested from the airport and taken to Mile Two he passed my cell which was the next to Lamin Darboe’s Cell – an executed death row prisoner.

I know you have always taken me for a political rival but truth and reconciliation is about putting the past behind us after the truth is said.

History cannot be rewritten. It is incontrovertible that the Government you served did not even have a war Cabinet and the Commander-in-Chief abandoned his troops at the most critical moment, thus depriving them of any command and control structure, resulting in the paralysis of the whole security apparatus leaving those who were more prepared to take over the mantle of leadership to do so.

After this development the only glorious task worth taking pride in is the rolling back of the change which took place through the bullet in 1994 by effecting change through the ballot box in 2016 which makes the TRRC possible to be constituted.

I hope you will put the record straight. I do not think that you have any doubt that I carried out my duty without fear or favour, affection or ill will, as coordinator of NADD, as dictated by the times and circumstances. I would be prepared to engage you in any forum if you wish to defend that your narration on my place of detention was correct.

While hoping that taking oath would be a reminder to everyone who appears to testify that one must speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I remain,

Yours in the Service of the People

Halifa Sallah

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