Tamsir Jasseh Tells Trrc How 2006 Failed Coup Was Planned
Tamsir Jasseh, former Director General of Gambia Immigration Department. Has told the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) that Ndure Cham was able to tell him in one of their conversations that it was time to change Yahya Jammeh’s government. However, he (Jassey) realized that Ndure was not concerned about the corruption in Yahya Jammeh’s government but the killings which were ordered by Yahya Jammeh in which he could be a victim.
“I did not take him seriously, but we continued the discussions. Anytime he came to the restaurant. I asked him what kind of support he Ndure had within the military?” Ndure then told Jasseh that he will have support from some of the soldiers.
Mr Jasseh told the Commission he always wanted to know who among the soldiers will take over from Yahya Jammeh if the coup succeeded.
He said Ndure Cham told him about Alieu Jobe but he objected. For the fact that Jobe was too Young and inexperienced and may not want to leave office like how Jammeh did.
On whether Lang Tombong Tamba was involved in the coup? He responded “No!” and added that Ndure cham told him that Lang was neither aware nor involved in the Coup D’Etat.
Jasseh informed the Commission that, on the first day they discussed the coup, “I suggested Colonel Cham should succeed Jammeh if all goes as planned. But the rest of the team approach Bishop Tiliwa Johnson because of his credentials and he is from the minority.’
Because they believe Mr Johnson had experience in conducting elections as he once served as Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Chairman”.
According to Mr Jasseh, on the 22nd March, 2006, he received a call from Colonel Cham that the attempt to remove Yahya Jammeh was made but had failed.
Jasseh told the Commission that there were no discussions surrounding the political situation and NIA. Yahya Jammeh concluded that he (Jasseh) was there to solicit help to overthrow his government.
He revealed to the commission that prior to that, Ndure Cham wanted to overthrow Jammeh on the day of the AU Summit in Gambia.
On how he came to know Ndure Cham, Jasseh said while he was serving in the Security Council, he met Cham who was also a regular customer to his Banjul restaurant.
However, he said some members of the Gambia Bar Association advised Cham not to go ahead with the coup on the AU Summit’s day because some of the presidents in attendance have condemned coups.
Jasseh further informed the commission that, during his conversations with Ndure Cham on the 22nd March, 2006. “I intimated to him that he could be arrested and executed. Therefore, he asked me to help him find a way out, which I did”.
While trying to smuggle Ndure Cham, he went to his location in Farato at around 4am and drove through the main road to the border. “We stopped and bought drinks at Brikama Market and proceeded to the border, we went up to Kujube, and I dropped him off. I told him that I will contact Mrs. Corr for him to apply for asylum in Germany”.
Jasseh said one particular night his door was knocked at and people fired shots in that process. He said his watchman was seriously beaten.
Mr. Jasseh said he then decided to call the US Ambassador that he was picked up what he believed to be State agents.
The witness recollected that the Musa Jammeh and Tumbul Tamba, went into his room and picked him up for Mile2.
Upon arrival they took his belongings and placed him in a cell. They further confirmed that he was arrested by the Junglers.
At this stage did you know that the arresting team were the Junglers? Asked lead counsel Faal. “Yes!” Answers Jassey
Mr. Jasseh told the Commission that one particular night at 2am, he was removed from his cell by Warrant officer Omar Colley alias Jah Guide.
He recollected that they handcuffed him and took him to the NIA and on their way some people were torturing him and he sustained serious bruises.
Upon arrival at the NIA, he scanned the room to know who was present in the room.
According to him, ASP Lamin Ceesay was a senior investigator within the Police and was the Police pick in that investigation, Harry Sambou and Momodou Hydara, Nfally Jabang, Tumbul Tamba, Musa Jammeh and Lang Tombong Tamba.
He confirmed that soldiers were armed in the room. “The investigation room was chaotic, tense, and unorganized”.
The former Immigration DG recollected that it was difficult to identify who was who and what role they were playing.
He alleged that the investigators were not interested in procedure because investigators like Foday Barry said they did not have enough evidence to go to court, suggesting the best thing to do was to release Jasseh and co. He said this statement did not go down well with Musa Jammeh and as a result, Foday one of the investigators joined them in Mile2 shortly.
He revealed that Ndure Cham never left the shores of the Gambia as claimed. He (Jasseh) was constantly in touch with him. He said Ndure Cham even sent him money when he (Jasseh) was in jail.
He said the episode was a shame in the Gambian Army as soldiers kept implicating one another.
Tamsir Jasseh concluded in his testimony at the TRRC that President Jammeh the type of person the nation shall never experience again. With him he said, soldiers that were supposed to protect and uphold the constitution were the ones that violated the rights of Gambians.