Darboe Implicates Yankuba Touray, Edward Singhatey in the 96 ‘Torture’ of UDP Militants
The leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and former Vice President Ousainou Darboe said Yankuba Touray and Edward Singhatey physically participated in the alleged torture of UDP militants at the Denton Bridge during the 1996 presidential election campaign.
Darboe, a former Vice President made the allegation Monday at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC). Touray and Singhatey were both key state ministers at the time and were part of the military junta that overthrew the regime of Sir Dawda Jawara in July 1994.
Members of the United Democratic Party, the main opposition party at the time went through series of alleged atrocities and abuses in the hands of the ruling APRC, including the September 22, 1996 Denton Bridge ‘ambush’ that led to the arrest and detention of scores of UDP militants.
“I found out that my supporters were asked to disembark from their vehicles before they were subjected to torture. I also found out that Yankuba Touray, the National Mobiliser of APRC and Edward Singhatey were the ones conducting the torture meted out to these people,” Darboe told the TRRC.
According to him, during the time of the torture Yankuba Touray was wearing a full military uniform. Darboe said he was disturbed by that because Touray had already resigned from the army to join the newly-established APRC Party. He said several members and supporters of the UDP who witnessed the Denton Bridge incident confirmed the participation of Touray in the torture of UDP militants.
“I have no doubt in the information I gathered from my supporters who witnessed the Denton Bridge torture. Why should I not believe in their information when all of them knew Yankuba Touray and others who participated in the ambush and torture of our members,” Darboe insisted.
He accused the leadership of the APRC of masterminding the alleged Denton Bridge ambush, adding that many militants, including Seedia Sanyang, a founding father of the UDP were severely beaten and tortured at the bridge under the supervision of Touray and Singhatey.
“I did ask that a judicial inquiry be held into the 22nd September, 1996 incident at Denton Bridge so that those responsible for this malicious act can really be dealt with according to law, but the government gave a deaf ear to my demand.”
“Of Course we did complaint to the Provisional Independent Electoral Commission (PIEC) and even called for a press conference to this effect but nothing was done to arrest the situation,” Darboe told the commission.
The UDP leader also told the TRRC that his party militants who were in charge of organizing UDP’s 1997 congress in Brikama were arrested. According to Darboe, those arrested included Wassa Sanneh, Syingle Nyassi, Yusupha Cham and Sarjo Kunjang Sanneh, alleging that they were tortured and detained by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
Darboe mentioned Daaba Marenah, Pierre Mendy and Kawsu Camara alias Bombardier as those responsible for the torture of the Brikama UDP militants.
He continued to harp on some of the challenges encountered by the UDP after the 1996 presidential and 1997 parliamentary elections. He recalled that at one point when he returned from Ethiopia his supporters were barred from entering the airport to receive him. He told the commission that when his entourage finally reached his Pipeline home, a former Deputy Inspector General of Police visited him at home and asked him to stop his supporters from drumming and dancing.
According to him, 2001 was also a very difficult year for the UDP when APRC militants on many occasions allegedly planned to disrupt UDP meetings at different villages and towns in the Upper River Region. He said the UDP cancelled some of its meetings because of provocation from APRC militants.
“We could not hold our meeting at Mansajang as planned because of provocations and we decided to move to Kulari for another meeting. On our way to Kulari just before the Chamoi Bridge, we fell into another ambush staged by militants of the APRC who started stoning our vehicles to the point of breaking the windscreen of the vehicle I was riding in with Doctor Ceesay.” Darboe was referring the incident that resulted to the death of one Alieu Njie, an APRC militant.
He testified that after the incident the station officer attached to Basse police station escorted him and his entourage to the police station before their appearance at the Basse Magistrates Court.
Darboe also gave testimony about his 1995 arrest, following earlier arrests of a large group of PPP supporters, including Momodou MC Cham. The PPP supporters and members were arrested, tortured and detained at the Fajara Barrack for allegedly planning anti-government demonstration outside the American Embassy.
Darboe said out of the sixty detainees, he was the only person who was not subjected to torture.
“The only tormenting I was subjected to during my detention at the depot was the harassment meted out to me by one junior military officer, Alagie Kanyi who would appear by our detention center every morning to call on me to ask which decree arrested me and when would I free my colleague detainees,” Darboe testified.