By Ousainou J. Sawaneh
The former Army Chief Instructor Ebrima Baba Kambi on Thursday faces the Truth commission to give his testimony on his recollection about the 1994 coup.
The former army Instructor Kambi said the country risk repeating its past mistakes if its military is not properly reformed, a semblance of which is yet to start. The military institution of the country is still as it were left by former ruler.
“Jammeh had reportedly destroyed the army as an institution making bogus promotions and creating some special units that respond to him directly, breaking the command structure in the force”.
Kambi said he was arrested and detained for about 2 years 6 months after the coup, and has served the junta as State House Chief of Staff.
“As far as I am concern, I have not seen any changes in the army. We still have the bogus ranks that were issued out by Yahya Jammeh to people who did not go through the courses. You cannot be a General without going through those courses. The army must be restructured from up there down. If our army is brigade strength, you cannot have a rank more than a brigade strength structured rank”.
He said while at the state house as the chief staff some of the former ministers were arrested and detained at the NSS, “I remember OJ Jallow was there” he confirm.
Kambi said he was the one who convince Jammeh to release the ministers who were detained.
“I told Yahya Jammeh that keeping these ministers here has no use; just release them so that whenever you need them, you will get them. He agreed and I went down with him to release the ministers”.
He said after the release of those ministers, hatred became the order of the day as the council members were not happy about that, “they even stop greeting me, I also started to smell rat” he said
“After one week, I told Jammeh that I wanted to go and visit my family and genuinely agreed and told me to come back on Sunday evening”.
The witness said immediately he left for the weekend, the following day on Saturday, Lang Tombomg Tamba came after him and told him that he was needed council members at the state house.
He said upon their arrival at the state house, the soldiers didn’t allow him to enter and after 5 minutes he saw Sanna Sabally and Sadibou Hydara coming with their guides. He added guides came down and pointed their guns at him and Sanna told him to enter his car and they then drove off to Mile II.
Mr. Kambi further said he went through difficult ponishment during his detaintion in the in Mile II. He said the country, despite talks of security sector reforms, still has “bogus” ranks in the army that were caused by former self-style dictator Jammeh.