By Omar Bah, Standard Newspaper
Sulayman Sowe, a former soldier with the State Guard yesterday claimed he was wrongfully discharged from the army and subjected to unlawful treatment by former President Yahya Jammeh and his commanders at the State House.
Mr Sowe began his story with an incident about an unusual visitor who came to him while he was on duties at the State House main gate.
“I was on duties at my sentry post at the main gate at State House when one Gilbert came to me at around 8:00pm and asked me to give him my details. I asked him what was going on but he only told me it was needed by the big man (President Jammeh),” he told The Standard recently.
He said that’s the time he gave Gilbert his military details and continued on with his sentry duties until he closed for the day the following morning.
“The following evening whiles I was in my room resting, I was again called by one sergeant Kemo Manneh, the then guard commander at State House to go and answer to Colonel Umpa Mendy, the then plain cloth commander,” he explained.
He said upon arrival at Umpa Mendy’s office, he was asked to name the person he was talking to, whiles on duty the day before.
“I told him (Umpa Mendy) I was not talking to anyone, but he insisted that I have to tell him who I was talking to, or I will be buried six-foot deep. I couldn’t tell him because I was not talking to anybody in the first place”.
He continued: “But when I refused to talk he instructed one Abdoulie Jarju to take me to Fajara Barracks and detain me there until further notice. I was detainee at the Fajara Barracks for six days without the knowledge of my family, they seized all my telephones”.
“It was only after six days in detention that I was able to call my father and inform him about it,” he added.
He said the only thing the military told him during his detention was his arrest and detention was a directive from the former President Jammeh.
“But when I was tired of the talks of executive directive I decided to ask the officer in charge of my detention to call the State House and inform them that I said they have to choose; either they take me to President Jammeh, Mile 2, kill or releasing me or I will not enter the cell again,” he added.
He said immediately when the call was made at State House they ordered for him to be taken to then NIA director Lamin Jarju for interrogation.
“But upon my arrival Lamin Jarju told me, ‘Young man you have done nothing wrong and that Colonel Umpa Mendy, General Sulayman Badgie and Colonel Ansumana Tamba are like this, they have expel or kill all the good soldiers’,” he alleged.
He said from the NIA he was brought back to the Military Police in Banjul, “I can still remember when I arrived back at Banjul, I was taken to the MPs chief Alhagie Jobe who accompanied me with other military officers to my house to collect all the military belongings”.
“After that I was kept at State House for days and later told by the same Alhagie Jobe that my service was not needed in the army any longer,” he said.