Gen. Lang Tombong Tamba
Date of Birth: 1965
Time of Birth:
Place of Birth: Sinte
Lang Tombong Tamba, born around 1965, played a prominent role in the Gambian Armed Forces, particularly as the Chief of the Defense Staff. His life and career are marked by significant events, from his early education to his military service, culminating in his arrest, trial, and subsequent release.
Lang Tombong Tamba, of Jola ethnicity, was born in Sintet, Foni Jarrol. His early years possibly included residing in Casamance before he enrolled at Nusrat High School. This foundation paved the way for his future military endeavors.
Tamba's military journey commenced in October 1986 when he joined the Gambian National Army (GNA) as a recruit. During the 1994 coup led by Yahya Jammeh, he held the position of Lieutenant and was the third in command of the presidential guard unit under President Dawda Jawara. His actions during the coup, attempting to prevent conflict between coup makers and presidential guards, earned him initial orders for arrest, which were swiftly reversed.
Remaining in the Gambian National Army, he climbed the ranks, eventually becoming the commander of the State House Guards around 2000, responsible for President Yahya Jammeh's personal security. His career reached new heights when he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Gambian Armed Forces in 2005 and Deputy Chief of Defense Staff in November 2005 as a colonel. Tamba's pivotal role in thwarting an attempted coup in March 2006 led to his appointment as Chief of Defense Staff on March 22, 2006, overseeing the Army, Navy, and National Guard.
His loyalty to Jammeh was evident until his dismissal on October 9, 2009, replaced by General Masaneh Kinteh. Despite initial promises of an ambassadorial role in Taiwan, Tamba was arrested in November 2009.
In March 2010, Tamba faced trial, along with eight others, including civilians, for conspiring to overthrow President Yahya Jammeh in 2009. The group was convicted in July 2010, with seven receiving death sentences. Tamba consistently denied the charges, asserting his innocence and unwavering commitment to Jammeh's government.
Despite their appeals being dismissed by the Court of Appeal in April 2011 and the Supreme Court in October 2012, the death sentences were reduced to long-term imprisonment in November 2014.
Subsequently charged with treason alongside Rear Admiral Sarjo Fofana, former Chief of Naval Staff, for withholding information about the planned coup, Tamba received another long-term imprisonment sentence in May 2011. However, he was part of the group of 234 prisoners pardoned by Yahya Jammeh on July 23, 2015, leading to his release from detention.