Ebrima Ismaila Chongan, former Assistant Inspector General of Police in Ex-President Jawara’s government, has been giving testimony at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
He narrated how mock execution were meted on him by Sana Sabally and his cohorts, the trial and the subsequent discharge and acquittal by Magistrate Borry S. Touray as he then was, the sacking of Magistrate Borry S. Touray, the transfer of his case to another Magistrate, the media coverage of his trial most particularly the, The Point and the Daily Observer newspapers, the reinstatement of Borry Touray and his transfer to Mansa Konko Magistrates’ Court, the rescinding of Borry Touray’s judgment by the judiciary and the change of the disposition from discharged and acquittal to striking out of the charge, his continued detention at the Security wing of Mile 2 Prisons, until he was released on the 3 February, 1997.
Chongan testified that on 3 February, 1997, whilst he was in the cell at the security wing in Mile 2, one K. Balajo came to him and asked him to pack his belongings and that was how he was released. He said he was released together with Pa Sallah Jagne and Captain Kambi. Mr.Chongan disclosed that whenever anyone was released, they would write a letter thanking Yahya Jammeh and in most times pay him a visit. Mr.Chongan further disclosed that he never went or wrote to Jammeh because Jammeh knows what he would tell him. When asked by Counsel Essa Faal to name the people who advised him to write to Jammeh and reconcile with him. Mr.Chongan replied that the late Baba Jobe, Samsedeen Sarr, Babucarr Jatta were amongst those who advised him to do so.
The witness pointed out that he had back pains for several years even after his release from the prisons, noting that basically they were lying down on the plank and it took years before the back pain disappeared. He said that after they were released on 3 February, 1997, they were still going to the court until April 1997 when the State filed a nolleprosecui. He further said Pa Sallah Jagne was appointed as commissioner of West Coast Region (Western Division).
The witness told the Commission that after he was released, he felt the need to go on exile having realised that he has no future under Yahya Jammeh’s government. He further told the Commission that his father advised him to leave the country and warned him that if he remains in the country, he could die like Ousman Koro Ceasay, the then Finance minister who died in mysterious circumstances.
Mr.Chongan testified that he was interdicted after he was released and during the period of his interdiction, he was paid half salary until he was finally dismissed. Mr.Chongan ended his testimony with a clear message that he has forgiven all those who wronged him during the erstwhile Yahya Jammeh regime quoting the TRRC mantra of ‘never again.’
Mr.Chongan said he suffered violation of his right as a Gambian under Jammeh and requested that he be retired honourably and be paid his gratuities, he advised that tribalism, nepotism, corruption should be fought in the country. He called for institutional reforms particularly in the security sector, noting that he loves the Gambia and stressed the need for all Gambians to heal the wounds and come together as one nation.