Saturday, 10 April 2010

The Price of Duty: Retired Col. Chongan's book

The Price of Duty, A most Read memoir:
Alpha Ibrahim Chongan’s record of his security career and eventual imprinsoment by the military junta of Yahya Jammeh is an educative and emotional book. The magnitude of the intolerable inhumane maltreatment meted out on them by fellow servicemen is both unbelievable and revolting.
Chogan’s overall rise in the Gambia Gendarmerie, later co-opted into the police force to the rank of deputy inspector General with the relative prestige, to a bereaved prisoner expose a sharp contrast.
The career of retired Major Chongan exhibit dedication, courage and servitude to the nation of the Gambia. Born into a family of highly respectable linage, bordering on Fulbe and Wollof ethnicity, his father a former senior police officer, Chongan wore the shirt of the Gambia gendarmerie and later police force with pride and honesty. His career was sadly cut short by the marauding buffoon of the semi-illiterate junta.
The good thing for young Gambians like me in the writing of the book is the shear level of historical facts loaded in a personal account of a courageous Gambian. Young Gambians will undoubtedly benefit immensely by reading the book and reflecting over the accounts. It makes us wonder, how easy men among us can inflict harm on fellow countrymen on truncated charges and cooked up malicious allegations.
The memoir also recounts the courage of former magistrate Bory Touray who bravely throw out the charges against Chongan and his co-conspirators. The Junta at their behest were merciless and lacking care. Bory by all accounts acted diligently for an inexperience magistrate.
The general experience of Alpha Ibrahim Chongan and co were gruesome to say the least. The tails of September the 6th mock execution alone is enough to cause harden men nervous breakdown and panic attacks.
Interestingly the initiator of that scandal, the infamous Sana Sabally himself later run occupied a notorious prison cell.
The paranoia and state of fear inflicted on innocent service men is shameful and requiring a public enquiry if decency prevails.
The book equally revealed that, Yahya Jammeh exploit torture techniques in demoralising and vilifying detainees after Sabally’s arrest. This fact proof that President Jammeh authorises and is aware of human rights violations against defenceless Gambians.
Mr Ibrahim Chongham should be commended for his efforts in setting the records straight, correcting certain misinformation, and bringing to light the incidences non-servicemen weren’t aware of. The false charges of November 11 coup, the alleged coup plots of Sabally and Hydara, the death of Hydara, the deaths of Lt. Basiru Barrow and others and the general prison lives in particular bears testimony to the need in writing the book.
Finally, the experiences of Chongan have toughened him in facing any difficult situation encountered. Arriving in the U.K, he completed a law undergraduate and later a post-graduate degree sealing it by been called to the Bar in London.
Chongan’s life story is a ray of hope for all people across national boundaries that are today facing dilapidating conditions under dictatorships.
I for one highly recommend this memoir.
Suntou Bolonba Touray

Shorter observation
A snap comment: the Price of Duty: A memoir of Ibrahim Chongan
Retired Major Alpha Ibrahim Chongan’s (Balangba) book provides a solid and sordid tails of utter brutality, crude barbarism and lack care in the hands of his captures. True to the spirit of gallantry and dedication to national service, he expose to us vital detail accounts of flagrant incidences of human rights abuses and cooked up charges against flawless servicemen. His long detention, truncated show trials, torture and betrayals by men he once serve with, placed him at an advantageous position to convey to us the truth about the July 22 1994 coup deta’ by Yahya Jammeh. The tears, uncertainity, anxiety and emotional overcharge made this book a breath of fresh air in the long narratives of July 22 1994. A most read memoir.
I enjoyed the book so much, i finished it in one night.
The authou i believe could have avoided labelling some few officers as using tribal connection to get promotion whilst not consistently using the same tag against other officers who belong to lesser tribes. The author experience a transformation in terms of spirituality. A man who pride himself in teethering on both pre-islamic paganism and Islamic scholarly heritage, became religious reading the bible and long chapters of the Qur'an.
Prison do indeed change people, and Chongan was no different.

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