By Ousainou J. Sawaneh
Tijan Touray a UK base Gambian on Wednesday took stage before the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission on a Skype video to give his testimony of the events leading to the 1994 coup.
The former Gendarmerie officer who later became the bodyguard to the former President Dawda Jawara told the TRRC that former President Yahya Jammeh behaved like a Bandit adding Jammeh was removed from State House while working there as a member of the State Guard.
He added that he believes that Jammeh was removed from State House because of his attitude and indiscipline. Former President Jammeh’s indiscipline attitudes has become the talk at the commission, as most of the witness describe him as man without discipline.
He further said Jammeh’s behaviour towards the President was unacceptable,” Touray said
The witness told the TRRC that he was a close body guard to President Jawara and a secret agent attached to the State House by the National Security Services (NSS).
He was also a member of the Crack Unit, an elite close protection group at State House.
Continuing his testimony before the commission, Touray said he joined the Gendarmerie in 1986 and he was then given the rank of Corporal shortly after his training.
Touray said he trained with Retired General Lang Tombong Tamba, Kalipha Manneh, Sadibou Hydara and their badge had 40 recruits. The commander of the Gendarmerie was General Pateh Secka of Senegal and the instructors were Senegalese, adding Secka later became the minister of Interior of Senegal.
The witness told the TRRC that weeks before the coup, he travelled with ex-president Jawara to attend AU submit and they came back on the 21st July 1994.
He narrated that open their return from the Summit, he said Lang Tombong Tamba, who was the senior guard commander at the State House instructed him to join a Coaster (minibus). The witness said it was not normal for a person who escorts the President abroad to be put in a Coaster minibus. “At that time I saw Yahya Jammeh at the Banjul International Airport, and he was by then a military police and he was not armed” he stated
“On the day of the coup, which was July 22nd 1994, as I usual do, I left for work to the State House and at the entrance, I saw Sir Dawda, Sahou, Sabally and the then American Ambassador leaving the State House with a small entourage. Then I followed them to the Seaport in Banjul where I saw the President and others entered a naval ship”
He explained that after reaching the State House, Yahya Jammeh and his soldiers who he referred to as rebels, were standing outside the State House discussing with Lang Tombong Tamba, in English and later changed their discussion to Jola.
He added Lang Tombong was saying we are all soldiers in order to avoid bloodshed, (let’s allowed them to enter in the State House) he asserted.
He said after Lang Tombong Tamba said those words, he left the State House for the seaport but saw the American Naval Ship that President Jawara boarded leaving the port.
Touray adduced that the coup makers were not only soldiers because “you cannot identify who are the soldiers or not”.
He argue that what happened on July 22nd was not a coup but a mutiny, he said he couldn’t even understand that a man who can’t even organized himself can organize a coup,