Ex-Mile II Chief Officer Admits to Torturing a Prisoner
Ex chief officer at THE Gambia’s central prison, Malang Tamba has confessed to torturing a prisoner, Soriba Conde during his stint as the authority responsible for all prisoners at Mile II.
Tamba is adversely mentioned for his alleged inhumane treatments against prisoners. He is currently serving an interdiction with half salary until the investigation is concluded.
On Wednesday, the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) has continued its institutional hearing on the Gambia Prison Service (GFS) regarding its human rights excesses and the conditions of the prisons.
Tamba told the commission that Soriba has threatened to harm him as he justified his action of subjecting him to corporal punishment. He said prior to the day, Soriba told him he was going to visit him in his office but he never came. At this time, he was detained at the security wing.
“When I reached the security wing, I met PO Alagie Nyang on duty who’s my junior officer and I told him I wanted to see Soriba Conde.
“He told me Soriba has been shielded (totally confined in a cell) since yesterday when he misbehaved. I insisted that I wanted to see him. He went to order the officer to bring Soriba.
“I went with Soriba behind the security wing. We stood there and I asked him what happened yesterday because you told me you would come to my office but I didn’t see you.
“He told me to go and ask my boss. Why didn’t you ask your boss? I told him but I cannot ask my boss when you are here and I have no right to ask my boss because he is my senior man. You are the one under me and you are the one I should ask. He told me ‘I won’t say anything here and know what to do.’
At this point, lead counsel Essa Faal asked the witness if he was offended because of Soriba’s response was rude. Tamba responded that it was not just rude but he considered it as a threat.
“What did he say that made you feel threatened? Counsel asked the witness.
“He told me that ‘I know what to do.’
“I asked him what are you going to do. He told me ‘no, I want to know what to do. What I did to Ali Ceesay and Ensa Badjie (Jesus), former police chief] and when I told the NIA they believed me.’
“I knew what he said was true because he had a problem with our operations commander Ali Ceesay who was dismissed from the service.
How was that a threat to you? He did not say he was going to do anything against you,” said counsel. Tamba insisted that Soriba was telling it to me.
“But he did not say he was going to do anything to you particularly,” Fall further pressed.
“Yes, he did not mention anything to me but he said he knew what he did to Ali Ceesay and Jesus were very minor but what he will do this time will be more. I said to him then, when I am going you will not be aware of it.
“I said to him because now you are beating your chest as you caused commissioner to be dismissed, you caused Jesus to be sentenced to life and now you are telling me what you are going to do to me will be more than this, then I am going to give you 20 lashes,” said Tamba.
“At that stage it becomes personal? Asked Faal. “Yes,” the witness responded.
Faal further puts it to him: “It became you being angry with him for what you think he may do to you.”
“That’s true because I knew what he thought of and if he did it would happen.”
“So, you decided to punish him so that he will not do what he promised to do?” Counsel enquired. “I told him if I am to go home, then you will not narrate it,” the witness responded.
“So, you decided to punish him in advance for something that he has promised to do in the future?” counsel further asked. “Yes, at that moment,” Tamba responded.
“So, at this stage he had not yet committed any offence? Counsel Faal asked. “The offence was threatening me,” the witness replied.
Section 65 of the Gambia Prisons Act was shown to him to confirm if there exists any provision to administer corporal punishment on anyone for making threats.
But according to the witness, “From the Director General to the last person there is nobody who has knowledge on this Act. We are not working according to this Act.”
“You acted unlawfully?” “That’s true,” he admitted.
Tamba will continue his testimony tomorrow.