Sana Sabally’s Former Orderly Confesses to One Torture, Denies Multiple Others
John Charles B. Mendy, former military officer who had served as an orderly to Lt. Sana Sabally, the Vice Chairman of the former ruling AFPRC military junta has admitted torturing a man who was accused of insulting the then military ruler, Yahya Jammeh in the aftermath of the July 1994 coup.
Mendy made the confession at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission Monday. During his testimony, he was cautioned and reminded on multiple occasions by the lead counsel, Essa Faal that it was punishable by law to give false information to the commission.
This came on the heels of his consistent denials on dehumanizing activities he was alleged to have executed for his boss. Asked why he thought he was chosen to be part of Sabally’s security details, he responded that perhaps it could be his track record of “hard work, obedience and neatness.”
According to Mendy, he was selected to be Sana’s orderly about eight days after the coup when the Vice Chair drove off to meet him at GPMB where he had posted himself. His responsibilities as orderly included protecting Sana’s life as well as clearing the road for his convoy which according to him, meant bursting tires of vehicles that refused to give way.
He then confirmed taking part in a torture. “We went to work and closed by 9 up wards. We were called by Sana Sabally and he said that there was somebody at Serekunda Police Station who was using the telephone booth, calling the president and insulting him. Upon arrival, we explained ourselves. They saw us the gentleman either in the cell or behind the counter…I can’t remember exactly. We collected him, took him to Sana.”
“Upon arrival, we handed him to Sana. Sana asked him few questions; why do you have to be calling the president and be insulting him over telephone booth. The man didn’t respond. He gave us an order to punish him which we did. We gave him a military punishment… Military punishment is to make an individual to squat, to press up, and do frog jump, crawl and beating.
“Essentially you tortured the man?” lead counsel Faal asked. “Yes. Even by crawling is a way of torture in the military,” Mendy responded.
“And you participated in that? Counsel asked. “Yes, I did,” confirmed the witness.
However, Mendy said he couldn’t recall the shooting of one Dolla Bah at Latrikunda Mangpatoto. He also said that though he was present, he couldn’t recall if one Abdoulie Tekanyi was beaten “even though he looked visibly manhandled.” He said he could not also recall the beating of Faa Ceesay of Mandinary as well as the New Jeshwang incident where he was alleged to have shot at the tires of a vehicle. “May be, maybe not.”
Mendy also said he couldn’t recall the incident in Nyambai forest as a member of Sabally’s security team when Faal asked if he remembered that that incident.
Asked about the alleged torture of veteran politician, Omar A. Jallow alias OJ while in detention, Mendy said he couldn’t remember anyone torturing the former minister. However he recalled “pushing” O.J. away from Sabally and others to be able to ask him to obey the command to crawl which he said O.J. initially refused to do.
Mendy is due to reappear at the TRRC Tuesday to give more details on matters surrounding his alleged involvement in atrocities during the military regime.