Momodou Hydara, a former official of the feared and brutal National Intelligence Agency (NIA), now renamed as the State Intelligence Services (SIS) is on the radar of the United States FEDS, this medium has been informed. Hydara, who lives in Alaska, has been named in alleged torture of detainees at the NIA, during dictator Jammeh’s rule.
In 2006, Hydara served as an acting Director General of the NIA, before he was fired. He played a leading role in the investigations of the March 2006, Ndure Cham foiled coup.
Some of the officers, who were charged with treason, had testified before a military Court Martial, where they gave chilling testimonies about Hydara’s alleged supervision of the torture sessions at the NIA, during the interrogations. One of those officers was former Army Captain Pierre John Mendy, the former Commander of the Fajara barracks.
Hydara was reinstated into the agency in 2008; this time around as a Deputy Director General. He later had a fallout with dictator Jammeh and resettled in the United States. The State of Alaska was his new home.
Hydara was married to Fatou Njie, the former Protocol officer for First Lady Zeinab Souma Jammeh. But the couple had since divorced, according to sources familiar with the story.
Hydara’s uncle Dr. Momodou Lamin Sidat Jobe, is Gambia’s Ambassador to France. His mum is a sister to Dr. Jobe.
The US Feds have started interviewing Mr. Hydara’s former victims of persecution. One of those recently interviewed by the FEDS is Demba Dem, a former APRC National Assembly Member. Mr. Dem lives in Holland. He was detained in the wake of the failed 2006 March coup. Dem was reportedly tortured while being detained at the NIA.
Mr. Hydara’s name came up during the interview Mr. Dem had with the FEDS, sources familiar with the story, told the Freedom Newspaper. Dem even showed the US Federal agents marks of torture on his back; he suffered during his detention at the NIA, our sources added.
It is not clear if Momodou Hydara is under deportation, but sources said he is under the radar of the US authorities. Below is an article published by the Foroyaa Newspaper in February of 2007, exposing the torture some of the officers endured while being detained at the NIA.
AT THE COURT MARTIAL: “I WAS ELECTROCUTED, KICKED, BEATEN”- CAPTAIN MENDY
By Fabakary B. Ceesay
Captain Pierre John Mendy, the’ ex-Commanding Officer (CO) of the Fajara Barracks, had revealed to the Court Martial that he was electrocuted, kicked and mercilessly beaten by officers at the NIA Headquarters. Captain Mendy made these revelations at the Court Martial on Thursday 15th February 2007.
Captain Mendy said when he was taken to the NIA for questioning on the 23rd March 2006, he told the panelists that he knew nothing about the alleged coup plot. He said, “For one hour they were questioning me and I was answering them. They told me, this is not what we want. If you don’t tell us what we want, we will get the hell out of you,” he said. Captain Mendy noted that at that time, there were five (5) soldiers standing at his back. “One gave me a nasty slap. I told Hydara, if you are about to kill me, then kill me, I don’t know anything about this.” Mendy said Hydara told him to say that somebody told him about it. He said Hydara also asked him to write that somebody informed him about it and added that he then paused for five to ten minutes and told Hydara that he cannot understand being asked to write about something that he was not part and parcel of and knew nothing about. He also said that Hydara again asked him to just write something and that they will use him as a witness. “I consented that RSM Alpha Bah told me”. He added that Hydara said, “Ok Lamin Cham, go with him and take his statement”. Mendy indicated that while he was in the room with Lamin Cham and with two other soldiers standing at his back, he asked Lamin Cham that there was no independent witness with them in the conference hall. He said that Cham told him to excuse him and went away for two minutes. “When he came back, he said the independent witness will come later,” he said. He said he was later taken back to mile two prisons. “While I was disembarking from the vehicle, Lance Corporal Malick Jatta struck me with the rifle on my head again”, he explained. He said Jatta insulted him and later added, “Today mosquitoes will bite you. I also told him prison belongs to nobody,” he stressed. He said he sustained a wound on his head. He indicated that he reported the matter to Lieutenant Colley, that Malick Jatta was beating him. He indicated that Colley promised him that he will tell the guards to stop the beating or he will change the escort team. He said that he appealed to Lieutenant Colley to call the medic to attend to him, which was later granted and he was dressed with two plasters on his head.
At this juncture, his Counsel, Lamin S. Camara, asked him to show the court the wound on his head, which was inspected by the panel. He said on the 25th March 2006, at around 5pm, he was taken to the NIA Headquarters. “I met one Mr. Bojang, alias Binladen, who told me ‘Captain Mendy welcome’ explained Mendy .” He told me that I was there for the independent witness to sign my cautionary statement dated the 23rd March 2006. Later the gentleman came into the office and Bojang told him ‘don’t come here to make mistakes, you made mistakes in the statement of Captain Abdoukarim Jah’,said Mendy.He added “I asked Bojang what mistakes are that and he told me Captain Jah’s cautionary statement was taken on the 22nd and he wrote 25th March 2006”. He said that he was told by Bojang that his statement will be backdated to 23rd, when it was signed on the 25th March 2006.
Going further, Captain Mendy explained that he was taken to the NIA complex again on the 29th March 2006. He said that whilst there Momodou Hydara of the NIA stood up and said, “Captain Mendy, now we want you to tell us all what has transpired between you and Colonel Ndure Cham. I told him, nothing transpired between us. One Baba Saho, an NIA Officer, asked me whether am fit to live in the next minute. I told him yes, am a human being, if these mosquitoes can live, what about me” narrated capt.Mendy.He continued “Then Hydara said, lets electrocute him, but Baba said, lets give him to the soldiers to beat him mercilessly. I was then taken downstairs behind the building in handcuffs. I was instructed to sit down on the ground, blind folded and beaten. I was later taken back to mile two without writing any statement. On that day I was not electrocuted,” added Mendy.
Captain Mendy narrated that on 10th April 2006, at the early morning hours at around 12:30 am to 1:00am, he was taken back to NIA headquarters. “This time I was only taken behind the building where I was instructed by Corporal Sana Manjang to sit down. He was later joined by Malick Jatta, Corporal Nuha Badjie and Michael Jabang. After a while, WO1 Tumbul Tamba came walking on his toes. He switched off the veranda light. Nuha Badjie put a plastic bag over my head. Corporal Manjang told me, you have to tell us all what Ndure Cham told you or else we get your dead body out of this place. I told him I know nothing and Ndure Cham has never told me anything. Then I was electrocuted on my left hand and I started yelling. Malick Jatta was using his combat boots on my skin, and also kicking me on my back.
After they used six (6) plastic bags over my head, of which I tore one by one up to six, Nuha Badjie announced that there was only one plastic bag left. Manjang told me to measure my length on the ground after which they started beating me again mercilessly. Sticks, electric wires and boots started raining on my back. After a while, Musa Jammeh came and asked, “Hey! Hey! What is going on here?” I told him they were torturing me. He instructed them to stop and take me back to mile”. Captain Pierre John Mendy is standing trial at the Court Martial for concealment of treason prior to the alleged March 21st abortive coup last year.
Source: Foroyaa Newspaper Burning Issue
No. 020/2007, 19-20 February, 2007