Lt. Colonel Babucarr Sanyany has told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission that he overheard Lt. Sana Sabally taking orders from Yahya Jammeh to set an example on the alleged November 11 coup plotters at the Yundum Barracks.
A group of soldiers were rounded up on that fateful day in 1994 for allegedly planning to overthrow the AFPRC military junta led by then Lt. Jammeh. Multiple TRRC witnesses testified that the arrested soldiers were summarily executed at Yundum Barracks and other places allegedly either by or on the orders of the junta members including Vice Chairman, Lt. Sabally.
In his testimony Thursday, Lt. Col. Sanyang said he saw Sabally speaking on the phone and overheard him saying ‘yes sir, yes sir, we will do that exactly so that an example can be set for all to see’. He said that at the time the only person Sabally could have taken orders from was Jammeh, suggesting that it could only have been Jammeh that was giving orders on the phone.
Lt. Col. Sanyang, the Training Task Force Commander of the Gambia Armed Forces told the TRRC that shortly after Sabally’s phone conversation, Lt. Fafa Nyang, a detainee, was killed after being shot two to three times.
“Immediately Fafa Nyang was whisked out jail for the example to be set on him, I heard more than two to three shots of gunfire. When I went out to confirm, Fafa Nyang was already lying on a pool of blood and I left for my office because what I saw was appalling.”
He recalled seeing Alagie Kanyi, John C. Mendy, Batch Samba Jallow at the barracks during the killings, together with military junta members including Sabally, Edward Singhateh, Yankuba Touray and Sadibou Hydara.
Lt. Col. Sanyang testified that shortly after the shooting of Fafa Nyang, council members led by Sabally, left the Yundum Barrack, adding that immediately after this, he decided to go and meet the Commanding Officer Modou Lamin Marong “who expressed his total disapproval against the actions of the council members to take the law into their own hands to blatantly kill soldiers without due process of the law.”
Lt. Col. Sanyang also told the commission that at around 2-3pm, the military junta leaders returned to the barracks and headed straight to the anteroom, though he denied any knowledge of what they discussed there.
“I later saw some officers being removed from their cells one after the other to enter a waiting truck before they were driven off and among the officers were Gibril Saye, Abdoulie Bah, Bakary Manneh, Cadet Sillah, Lamin Jarju and LaminDarboe.”
He said at that time he could not establish where these soldiers were taken but he later came to know that all of them were killed at diverse places, from Nyambai Forest to Lance Corporal Lamin Bojang Range in Brikama.
On the alleged plan to overthrow the military junta on 11th November 1994, Lt Col. Sanyang told the Commission that he had no information regarding the alleged counter coup, adding that he only heard about it from one Alagie Kebbeh.
“Lance Corporal Alagie Kebbeh came to my house to inform me about a coup in the making and that I should alert all my men to assemble by 10pm. He said the men were fed up because after all the promises given by the junta, none of it were fulfilled and now all their (soldiers’) patience has dried out and the only thing left is to change the junta,” he told the commission.