Gambia : Charges laid against General Lang Tombong Tamba; whether he was convicted; individuals who testified against him, including the position these people occupied and their relationship with General Lang Tombong Tamba (2006 - December 2011)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Publication Date||7 December 2011|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Gambia : Charges laid against General Lang Tombong Tamba; whether he was convicted; individuals who testified against him, including the position these people occupied and their relationship with General Lang Tombong Tamba (2006 - December 2011), 7 December 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f0e9f712.html [accessed 4 March 2015]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Several sources indicate that General Lang Tombong Tamba was convicted twice for the role he played in two attempted coups d'état that took place in 2006 and in 2009 (Europe1 and Reuters 23 May 2011; RNW 23 May 2011; US 8 April 2011, Sec. 1d).
Conviction linked to the 2009 attempted coup d'état
Several sources indicate that General Tamba was one of the eight individuals sentenced to death in July 2010, for having presumably participated in a failed coup d'état in 2009 (RNW 23 May 2011; Europe1 and Reuters 23 May 2011; Jeune Afrique 30 July 2010; US 8 April 2011, Sec. 1d). According to Amnesty International (AI), these individuals were arrested in March 2010 and accused of having [translation] "procured weapons, ammunition, material and mercenaries in Guinea, for the purpose of a coup d'état" (13 May 2011). The US Department of State also indicates that these individuals "were accused of ... procuring weapons, and recruiting and training mercenaries in Guinea-Bissau to help them stage a coup," and states that they were arrested in November 2009, but that charges were laid only in March 2010 (US. 8 April 2011, Sec. 1d). The accused reportedly filed an appeal (ibid.; Foroyaa 9 March 2011; Daily Observer 15 April 2011), which was dismissed by the Gambia Court of Appeal on 14 April 2011 (ibid.).
According to the online daily newspaper Foroyaa, authorities summoned 16 persons to testify against the accused in this matter (9 March 2011), whereas, according to the Banjul Daily Observer, 15 witnesses were summoned (15 April 2011). Foroyaa adds that there were police and army officers amongst the witnesses, as well as civilians and representatives of four companies, Gamcel, Africell, Comium and Qcell (9 March 2011). Similarly, the Banjul daily The Point indicates that the director of information technology at Gamcel, the director of technical services at Comium, and the senior customer service manager at Qcell testified at General Tamba's trial (29 April 2010). During their testimony on April 28, 2010, the three witnesses stated that they had provided the National Intelligency Agency (NIA) with printed lists of their clients' phone numbers or records of their calls (The Point 29 April 2010). Moreover, some regional media note that one person was considered the main witness in the trial (The Gambia Echo 22 March 2010; SeneGambia News 24 March 2010). This witness was reportedly a student who lived in Bwiam, a village in the western part of the country (The Point 23 March 2010; SeneGambia News 22 March 2010). He claimed that he had been hired by General Tamba to participate in the operation that attempted to overthrow the government (The Gambia Echo 22 March 2010), and that he attended three meetings held at the General's residence (ibid.; SeneGambia News 22 March 2010). In 2009, the General tasked him with spying on the Farafenni military camp (The Point 29 April 2010; SeneGambia 24 March 2010 ) in preparation for the coup (ibid.). Furthermore, General Tamba reportedly took care of him for two years, namely by paying his tuition fees at the Gambia Technical Training Institute (ibid. 22 March 2010). Corroborating information on this witness or information on other witnesses at that trial could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
According to Amnesty International, the proceedings of this trial for treason were [translation] "evidently unfair," because some of the accused and witnesses had been [translation] "tortured" (13 May 2011). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
Conviction linked to the attempted coup in 2006
In May 2011, an ad hoc tribunal in Banjul sentenced two former Gambian army officers, including General Tamba, to 20 years in prison for being involved in an attempt to overthrow President Yahya Jammeh in 2006 (Europe1 and Reuters 23 May 2011; RNW 23 May 2011). General Tamba was accused of having known about the coming coup and failing to disclose that information (Afrik.com 24 May 2011; RNW 23 May 2011).
According to an article in the Serrekunda Daily News, the prosecution called five individuals, including a major and a captain, to testify at the trial (23 March 2011). Moreover, in October 2010, according to Foroyaa, a police officer and a security officer were called by the prosecution to testify (27 Oct. 2010). Corroborating or additional information on the witnesses at this trial could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Afrik.com. 24 May 2011. "Gambie : 20 ans de prison pour deux anciens chefs militaires."
Amnesty International (AI). 2011. "Gambie." Amnesty International - Rapport 2010 : la situation des droits humains dans le monde.
The Daily News [Serrekunda]. 23 March 2011. Baba Sillah. "Court Urged to Free Tamba, Fofana Once Again."
Daily Observer [Banjul]. 15 April 2011. Sidiq Asemota. "Lang Tombong & Co Appeal Dismissed."
Europe1 and Reuters. 23 May 2011. "Gambie : des chefs militaires condamnés."
Foroyaa [Serrekunda]. 9 March 2011. Fabakary B. Ceesay. "General Tamba, Others Appeal Set for Judgement."
_____. 27 October 2010. Fabakary B. Ceesay and Abubacarr Saidykhan. "General Tamba, Admiral Fofana's Treason Trial Lawyer Mboge Faults Prosecution's Objection."
The Gambia Echo [Raleigh, North Carolina]. 22 March 2010. Njie Khakatarr and Ebrima G. Sankareh. "Gambia: Treason Trial Kicks Off with Startling Revelations. As Principal Witness, Ebrima Marreh, Implicates General Tamba and Colleagues."
Jeune Afrique. 30 July 2010. Cécile Sow. "Drôle de paradis."
The Point [Banjul]. 29 April 2010. Sainey M. K. Marenah. "In Treason Trial, Lead Investigator, GSM Officials Testify."
_____. 23 March 2010. Soury Camara. "Student Testifies in Treason Trial."
Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW). 23 May 2011. "Gambie : 20 ans de prison pour deux ex-chefs militaires accusés de trahison'."
SeneGambia News. 24 March 2010. Yankuba Jambang. "More Damning Revelations Against Tamba, Bombardier, Modou Gaye."
_____. 22 March 2010. Yankuba Jambang. "Schoolboy Testifies Against Coup Plotters in Court."
United States (US). 8 April 2011. Department of State. "Gambia." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010.
Additional Sources Consulted
Internet sites, including: African Press Organization, Afrique Avenir, Afrol News, Agence de presse africaine, AllAfrica.com, British Broadcasting Corporation, Destin de l'Afrique, Freedom House, Gambia Press Union, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights, Jellofnews, Le Monde, PanaPress, Radio France internationale, Reuters, Sen24heures, Seneweb.com, United Nations — Integrated Regional Information Networks, Voice of America, World Organization Against Torture.