Rest in peace Daba Marena, Gambia’s for spy chief. Mr. Marena was killed in March of 2006 after he was implicated in a failed coup headed by the exiled former Army Chief of Defense Staff Ndure Cham. Daba was with the dictator in Mauritania, when news reached him together with the Kanilai monster that some officers of the armed forces were plotting to unseat Jammeh from power. He was arrested hours upon their return to Banjul. The coup was thwarted and its perpetrators rounded up.
Mr. Marena, who headed the NIA, Africa’s worst intelligence outfit, was picked up from his mile two prison cell one early morning together with other coup suspects such as Manlafi Corr, Alieu Ceesay, Ebou Lowe, and Alpha Bah and taken to an execution site outside the Capital City Banjul and summarily executed. They were shot at a close range. The remains of the alleged mutineers were dumped in a mass grave in the Fonis.
Dictator Jammeh and the late Daba Marena enjoyed excellent rapport over the years. But that never stopped Jammeh from giving orders for Daba’s execution. Jammeh told his close aides that he doesn’t “wanna” see Daba again. That means, he wants Daba dead. His assassin team known as the “jungullars” wasted no time in executing Jammeh’s orders. The detainees were murdered in grand style without any formal criminal charges proffered against them by the state.
The late Major Musa Jammeh, and Captain Tumbul Tamba supervised the executions under Jammeh’s directives. Also present on site was Jammeh’s lead assassin operative Sanna Manjang, Nuha Badjie, Solo Bojang, Rambo, and co. Former Army Warrant officer (WO2) Bai Lowe told Freedom Radio Gambia in an earlier interview that he witnessed the executions. He said one of his close buddies and loved one Manlafi Corr was gruesomely killed in his presence.
Both Musa Jammeh and Tumbul Tamba died mysteriously months after the coup was suppressed. Reports have it that the duo might have been secretly poisoned by the dictator. The circumstances surrounding their death remain unclear.
Daba Marena’s relationship with the late Musa Jammeh was not that cordial. This stem out from an NIA investigations, in which Musa Jammeh, AKA Gambia’s “Malia Mungu” was at the center of the probe. Musa and his dictator brother had fallen out at the time. Jammeh ordered for his arrest and subsequent imprisonment.
Mr. Marena, in the due execution of his duty as the nation’s top intelligence chief instructed his NIA operatives to execute Jammeh’s orders for Musa’s arrest. The NIA reports to Yahya Jammeh. Musa Jammeh then started developing grudges against Mr. Marena, following his brief arrest and imprisonment. He was out of work for sometime.
The dictator later decided to pardon Musa Jammeh and reinstated him back into the army. Musa reports back to work by pledging full loyalty for the dictator. The 2006 March abortive coup was an opportunity for him to settle scores with the man, he blamed for his political mishaps. He was tasked to oversee the NIA investigations and interrogations. Daba Marena’s fate was at the mercy of Musa Jammeh; an army officer he onetime detained.
Reading a past Daily Observer publication, I came across a lead story titled: “Pay up or else,” NIA urges Commission indictees. The Daily Observer headline should serve as a wake up call for all serving NIA officers, police chiefs, army chiefs, and government officials to put country first before Jammeh’s personal interest. Jammeh has no permanent friend, but permanent interest. Jammeh does not value loyalty, patriotism, and professionalism. The majority of the people he sent to his execution gallows were the very folks he (Jammeh) used to call my “true loyalists.” Jammeh uses the phrase “loyalty to one’s leader and country” as a bait to further kill public officials. Wake up Gambians. Jammeh is a villain!