The Gambia’s longest serving director of prisons has been held in police custody since last Tuesday. David Colley’s arrest and subsequent detention at Serious Crimes Unit in Banjul was in connection with the death of Baba Jobe, former ruling APRC Majority Leader of Parliament. Mr. Jobe fell out with former President Yahya Jammeh only to be arrested, detained and later slapped with economic crimes. He was convicted and sentenced to serve nine years in prison. Mr. Jobe remained in detention even after he had served his term. The family was expecting his release but was shocked to learn about his death at the hospital in Banjul. The Jammeh government refused to set up a Coroner’s Inquest to investigate how or why Mr. Jobe had died. Most people blamed the untimely death on foul play. It is now apparent that the order to “kill Baba Jobe” passed through David Colley. This leads to the arrest and detention of the dismissed prisons director.
Ansumana Manneh, director of Old Jeshwang prison replaced Colley who was accused of overseeing tortures and mistreatment of Mile II inmates for two decades. He denied existence of torture in the central prisons even though released inmates walked out with physical and psychological marks of tortures.
Mr. Colley, a native of Jammeh’s Kanilai hamlet, had been the head of Gambia Prison Service since 1997, although he was fired, redeployed and reinstated twice. His dismissal and arrest came after the former Ministers of Interior Mai Ahmad Fatty and Justice Abubacarr Tambadou made impromptu visit to Mile II Central Prison. The visit exposed horrible conditions of prisoners who were held in dark cell. The expose drew a wave of condemnations.