Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) on Friday visited dictator Yahya Jammeh’s torture chambers at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) now renamed—the State Intelligence Services (SIS). The Chairman of the Commission Dr. Lamin Cise led his TRRC staff to the NIA, where torture chamber evidence tampering was uncovered. The cells at the NIA were repainted including interrogation rooms, where detainees used to be subjected to torture during Jammeh’s rule.
Journalists were not allowed take videos at the SIS headquarters in Banjul. Both state and private media were not allowed to film the visit. QTV was the only media house allowed to film the visit.
The SIS is headed by Ousman Sowe. Sowe had served in various leadership roles at the then NIA, before the change of government. He onetime served as NIA Investigations, External Director, and Director and Director of Analysis.
A former official of the agency Bubacarr Badjie, was the first NIA agent to blow the whistle on the alleged evidence tampering at the NIA. Badjie was the NIA Legal Officer before he was removed from the agency.
This follows, a petition Badjie wrote to President Adama Barrow, accusing his boss Ousman Sowe of allowing the the torture chambers at the NIA to be repainted. Badjie later had his services with the NIA terminated. He was redeployed to the police, but he refused. He ended up losing his job.
The President of Gambia’s Bar Association Ms. Rachael Mendy, had also made similar allegations against the NIA leadership, during her recent Legal Year address to the nation. She alleged that there was torture evidence tampering at the NIA, following the change of government back in December of 2016.
The TRRC had made similar visits to the mile two prison last month. The sanitary conditions at mile two were said to be appalling. The food was bad. Prisoners were also exposed to degrading treatment.