The Chronicle Gambia

Three Gruesome Atrocities Edward Singhatey is Most Likely to be Confronted with at TRRC

The former Vice Chairman of the military transitional government, the Junta, Edward Singhatey will finally testify before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) this week. His testimony is much anticipated considering the extent of his implications by several witnesses.

Like all the Junta members, Edward Singhatey is adversely mentioned in cementing inhumanely governance style in the country. According to the TRRC, Edward will testify this week as junta council member.

Following Yankuba Touray’s shocking appearance in June, where he invoked an immunity provision, Edward’s appearance already appears to be more promising after he voluntarily returned to testify, as informed by a reliable source. The Chronicle takes a look at some of the facts and events Singhatey has been heavily implicated in by his own colleagues and victims. 

 Background of Junta Administration

The Junta came to power in July 1994 after dislodging the long-term democratic government of President Dawda K. Jawara. The disgruntled soldiers were led by the then Lieutenant, Yahya Jammeh, who eventually became the Chairman of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC). The Junta justified their actions stating the high level of corruption and nepotism in Jawara’s regime which needed to come to an end. Describing themselves as ‘soldiers with a difference’, the Junta promised that they will never introduce dictatorship in the country.

Edward Singhatey became Vice Chairman following the imprisonment of his predecessor, Sana B. Sabally, less than a year after the coup. Even with all the promises the Junta maintained its opposition to dissent through maiming, killing, threatening citizens and unleashing all kinds of torment on those who disagreed with them. 

Junta members

November 11, 1994

At least 11 soldiers were killed on November 11th, 1994 after being accused of staging a coup to dislodge the military junta, who at the time was just four months into office. Some of those killed included Lt. Basiru Barrow, Sergeant Fafa Nyang, Abdoulie “Dot” Faal, Sergeant Basiru Camara, and Gibril Seye among others.

Both former Vice Chairman of the junta, Sana B. Sabally, and former Corporal Alagie Kanyi have heavily implicated Edward Singhatey in the 11 killings. Baboucarr “Njie Ponkal” Njie, a former orderly to Sana Sabally also implicated Edward Singhatey as being a participant in the executions. Kanyi told the TRRC that he received instructions from Edward Singhatey to shoot Basiru Camara.

“Edward Singhatey called me to follow him and that was the time we moved behind Basiru Camara. I also saw Sergeant Fafa Nyang who was left naked being captured by Sana and Edward. Later, Edward told him (Fafa Nyang), f*****g join Camara. I was instructed by Sana and Edward to open fire at them,” Kanyi told the commission. Kanyi accused Edward of also firing at the two soldiers. 

One of the only two photos of Ousman Koro Ceesay available to the public for the past two decades

Murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay in 1995

Arguably one of the most shocking revelations from the TRRC testimonies comes from the mystery behind Ousman Koro Ceesay’s death. Killed in cold-blood, Finance Minister Ousman Koro Ceesay’s body was placed in his official car and set ablaze. The cover-up story given by the government at the time was an unfortunate and fatal car accident. Several witnesses before the TRRC have now dispelled this explanation as false.

Testifying in February, Lieutenant Demba Njie accused Edward Singhatey of spearheading the plot against Koro Ceesay out of jealousy as Koro was increasingly getting closer to Chairman Jammeh. However, the family of Koro Ceesay told The Chronicle that, Koro was preparing his annual budget speech. This speech was expected to implicate Edward and other Junta leaders for wasting public funds. Many are interested to hear Edward’s recount and reasonings as it pertains. 

The UDP 1996 Encounter

In June 2019, the leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Ousainou Darboe accused Edward Singhatey along with Yankuba Touray of physically participating in the alleged torture meted out on his supporters in the 1996 presidential elections campaign.  

“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 and Edward Singhatey were the ones conducting the torture meted out to these people,” Darboe told the TRRC

No one can be entirely sure of what to expect of Singhatey’s appearance. In the case of amnesty, Edward may not be easily granted considering the high level of atrocities he has been implicated in. However, honesty, a sense of remorse and an apology to victims and their families could possibly sway the public in the interest of reconciliation as seen in the cases of Sana B. Sabally and Alagie Kanyi who were also heavily implicated in committing heinous crimes. 

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