The Deputy Gambian Ambassador in Turkey, Serign Modou Njie, has debunked a claim made by the former Deputy Director of the National Drug Enforcement Agency Pateh Jallow, that he Mr. Njie, has threatened him with possible retribution if he (Pateh) had went ahead to allow a postmortem to be conducted on the body of his late brother Sergeant Ello Jallow, whose mysterious death was being treated as a case of an automobile accident. Ello Jallow was a bodyguard attached to dictator Yahya Jammeh’s wife Zeinab Souma Jammeh. Mr. Njie, who was the commander of the State Guard at the time of Ello’s death, has vehemently rejected Pateh’s allegations. He said he has never issued such threats against Mr. Pateh Jallow, a former colleague of his, whom he calls “a true friend and a brother.”
Pateh Jallow alleged in his interview: “He came from a visit with the First Lady on Monday, but the last day I saw him was Wednesday. He even wanted to marry a lady in Sweden and we were going to start that process. I told him not to come back but he didn’t listen. I was very shocked when I came back from a trip to Casamance and was told he had returned to The Gambia against my advice. Prior to that I was called by Serign Modou Njie who asked me to warn him. When I told Ello he replied to me those people were cowards. He said to me he would sacrifice to come because if he didn’t I would be in trouble. I told him I was already in enough trouble anyway , but he didn’t listen.”
” At the death house we were not allowed to have a postmortem. Serigne Modou Njie told me there should not be any post mortem for my brother. He told me if I faced any risks from wanting to do post mortem it would be my own fault. He categorically warned me against postmortem for my brother”.
Serigne Modou Njie retorted: ” Its not true. I never threatened Pateh. I never told him that if postmortem was conducted on Ello’s body, he risked facing reprisal from the authorities. I have no right or powers to tell him not to conduct postmortem on his brother’s body. That’s sole the decision of the family. I have nothing do with that. I do not know why Pateh is falsely accusing me. I have never had such conversation with him,” said the Deputy Gambian Ambassador in Turkey.
Mr. Njie admitted inviting Pateh Jallow into his office to discuss Ello’s behavioral change at work. He said Ello became disgruntled once he was removed from the First Lady’s protection detail. He alleged that Ello, was complaining to family members, and colleagues that he (Mr. Njie) has hands into his transfer from the First Lady’s detail to the State House plain cloth protection division. Ello, he add, started withdrawing from him and his colleagues and was always around explosive devices. Hence, suspicion was rife that he was on a suicidal mood.
“I called Pateh into my office to tell him about Ello’s declining behavior. I know Pateh, a long time ago and we were very close. I consider Pateh as my brother. We were batch mate in the Gendarmerie. My conversation with him centered around Ello’s behavioral decline. I asked him to talk to Ello, because he was a changed man, upon his withdrawal from the First Lady’s protection detail,” he said.
According to Mr. Njie, he was among those who encouraged Pateh, to reenlist into the service after he Pateh had retired from the army. He said Pateh served for five years in the army after the coup, before retiring.
“He opened up about financial problems to support the family and I advised him to re-enlist in the force which is why he was taken to the drug squad,” he said.
While serving as commander of the State Guard, I had an order from the president to remove Ello from the security detail of the First Lady. This order came after a trip to America by the First Lady, although I don’t know what transpired there. Neither Fatou Njie , nor Amadou Joof who was the senior officer in charge would tell me what happened,” he told Freedom Radio Gambia in an interview.
Asked about the reaction of the president to the death of his spouse’s body guard, former Brigadier-General recalled: “We escorted the president to his office as we did everyday and I told him about Ello’s death during the situation briefing. The president asked me what happened and I told him he was involved in an accident. Then he gave me D60,000 to give to his family.I never had a chance to meet them when they came to state house because I was in a meeting, but I left Ansumana Tamba in charge to meet them.”
“I loved Ello so much I would never have wanted him to come to any harm. He was the one who started small talk to people of me removing him from the security detail of the First Lady. Ello was such a good soldier and so disciplined. I even made him an instructor for protection training because he was trained by Iranians where he came 3rd place overall. I never would have wanted to see him dead and it is very painful what Pateh is saying about me concerning Ello’s death. A currently serving officer has informed me that Ello had a meeting with Saul Badjie in a room at State House that lasted a long time. However, I cannot say what the meeting was about,” he concluded.
Written by Sainey Darboe. Pa Nderry M’bai also contributed to this write up.