Col. Babucarr Sanyang, commander of training task force at The Gambia Army
Headquarters continued his testimony before the Truth, Reconciliation and
Reparations Commission (TRRC) yesterday chaired by Dr. Lamin J. Sise.
The witness disclosed that whilst in his office, Cpl. Fafa Jobe came to inform him that RSM Paul Gomez alias Papou Gomez requested that he provide more men for the burial of the slain soldiers.
The witness further disclosed that he never supervised nor provided any men for the burial of the soldiers, adding that RSM Papou Gomez came from Banjul to supervise the burial of the soldiers.
He mentioned Batch Samba Jallow, JCB Mendy, Albert Mendy, Sgt. Lamin Fatty, Cpl. Lamin Colley, Mustapha Touray alias Churow, Alfusainey Susso and Ensa Mendy, Baba Njie as having participated in the burial.
The witness indicated that prior to the 11th of November, 1994, there were complaints about the promise made by the council members.
He also indicated that there were complaints about shortage of rice in town though not in the barracks.
The witness as RSM, he usually organised meetings and master parade, citing a particular day he had meeting with Lt. Barrow whilst he was the Chief Officer (CO) at Yundum Barracks concerning the issue raised.
The witness disclosed that Lt. Barrow told him that the council members are liars but assured him that the concerns of the soldiers would be taken care off.
He told the Commission that Lt. Barrow eventually came out and addressed the soldiers but shortly afterwards he was transferred to the Army Headquarters.
The witness disclosed that Lt. Barrow was replaced by Captain Marong as the CO of Yundum Barrack before the 11th of November, 1994.
Lt. Col. Sayang said he had meeting with Captain Marong regarding the concerns of the soldiers and after he addressed the soldiers, he observed some improvement in the behaviour of the officers.
He disclosed that there was a schedule rehearsal on the 10th of November, 1994, but never took place and was supposed to go McCarthy Square to mark the field but he was informed by RSM Saye that the council members would be visiting the camp to brief them about the soldiers concerns.
He said the council members led by Lt. Sana Sabally finally arrived and he saw some senior officers lined up to welcome them.
He noted that amongst the senior military officers that welcome the council members was the CO, Captain Marong, Lt. Gibril Saye, Lt. Alieu Bah, Lt. Lamin Jarju, Lt. Lamin Darboe and Lt Buba Jammeh.
He said whilst Lt. Sana Sabally was being greeted, he saw Naval officer Lt. Sarjo Fofana and he asked him if he was part of them.
He further said after the officers greeted the council members, they were ushered in and they held the meeting.
The witness told the Commission that he wasn’t present in the meeting as he was busy making preparations to distribute uniforms and mark the field.
He disclosed that whilst in his office, he heard gun shot from the direction of the meeting and upon arrival, he heard Lt. Edward Singateh, saying the council members are not afraid of anybody and would deal decisively with anyone who misbehaves.
He further disclosed that he spent about 10 minutes there and left, adding that after the council members left, the GNA 11 van was loaded with the materials that he used to mark the field for the Army Remembrance Day parade on the 13th of November, 1994.
The witness told the Commission that they left for Banjul but on their way, they dropped some officers at their various residences and got to Banjul very late to mark the field.
He further told the Commission that after marking the field, he returned and whilst on the way to the camp they met Buba Jammeh who informed him that soldiers had started coming to the camp.
The witness said he had initially thought it was in respect to the parade but got home and whilst watching television, his phone rang and when he picked it, one Corporal Jamboy Sowe , a military police officer greeted him and asked him where he was and soon after; told him that he has a list and his name was on the said list and that he has got information that there would be a change of government and warned him to leave the camp.
He explained that after his conversation with Jamboy and Cpl. Buba Jammeh knocked on his door to inform him that soldiers were collecting weapons.
He said he gave D50.00 to Buba Jammeh and the driver to get fuel and find the Chief Officer, Captain Marong who was indisposed at the time.
The witness revealed that shortly after he received another call from Sgt. Famara Jassh, a military police warning him that he should leave the camp, saying that he saw his name among the list as people that should be arrested.
He said whilst he was trying to lock his window, he saw Cpl. Alagie Kebbeh who motioned him to come out, and whilst outside, Kebbeh told him that all the men are ready and that he should go and get the men for the mission.
The witness said he was surprised at Kebbeh’s statement and he asked him what mission, but Kebbeh replied that they wanted to change the council as they did not fulfill their promise.
The witness underlined that being an RSM and seeing a lance corporal giving him orders was when he began to take things seriously.
He said as he left his house, he saw Cpl. Basirou Camara, a driver with lance Corporal Kebbeh and he told them that he would join them, but he maintained a short distance with them and finally dashed into the bush and went through Banjulinding and then arrived in his family compound at Lamin village where he met one Bintou Colley who advised him that it was not safe for him to stay in the compound.
He said he heeds to her advice and left the compound for a hideout where he spent the night and returned to Yundum Barrack between 6:30 a.m. -7:00 a.m.
He disclosed that whilst in his house, he called WO2 Jallow and as soon as they started moving, they were stopped by Lance Corporal Malafi Corr who cocked his rifle and asked them to double up and eventually led them to the guardroom.
He explained that at the guardroom, the situation was chaotic and he saw a lot of soldiers with weapons and as soon as they entered the guardroom, he saw the duty provost, Cpl. Buba Jammeh.
He indicated that order was given for him to be detained and whilst there, he saw Captain Marong, the Chief Officer sitting on the floor who said: “RSM how come this things was happening and you people didn’t inform me.”
The witness disclosed that after Marong prompted him that question, he responded by citing Section 47(e) of the Gambia Armed Forces Act and Section 36 (a) of the Criminal Code of the laws of The Gambia relating to treason.
He explained that his effort to locate the Chief Officer was necessary and in line with the section of the law.
He said whilst inside the guardroom, the cells were filled to capacity and after he was detained for an hour, he was released together with Captain Marong, the Chief Officer, WO2 Jallow and two others soldiers on Lt. Sana Sabally instructions.
He explained that Cpl. Batch Samba Jallow, Lt. Edward Sigateh’s driver was the very person holding the cell keys and after his release, he went straight to his office and began thinking about the unusual things that transpired, but later moved to the captain in a bid to explain to him.
He further explained that the council had moved to the Officers’ Mess but couldn’t have the time to explain to Captain Marong who had also gone to the Officers’ Mess.
He said at the Officers’ Mess, he heard Lt. Sana Sabally saying. “Yes sir, yes sir, we would do exactly what you have said to set an example.”
The witness told the Commission that he presumed that Lt. Sabally was speaking to his superior and that was Lt. Yahya Jammeh.
He said after the conversation, Lt. Sabally ordered that Sgt. Fafa Nyang be brought and whilst he (the witness) was going to his office, he met up with Batch Samba who was leading Sgt. Fafa Nyang and some minutes later, he heard gun shots whilst he was asked by one Tamba to answer to Captain Marong and as he entered Captain Marong’s office and saw him held an handkerchief wiping his face.
He disclosed that he observed that the CO, Captain Marong was totally against the council members’ action of summarily executing people as he suggested that they should have been arraigned before a court of law.
He said whilst still in Captain Marong’s office, he peeped outside and saw Fafa Nyang lying close to a truck near the cook house with blood oozing out of his body.
“I got back to my office and was in a bad mood and I saw Alagie Kanyi around the council members’ orderly.
He said after the council members left, they later returned together with their orderlies and the army commander, Col. Babucarr Jatta.
He explained that upon their arrival they went to Officers’ Mess and he saw a Land Rover driven and parked around the guardroom.
He revealed that officers were being removed from detention and put inside the vehicle and he saw Alagie Kanyi sitting at the back of the Land Rover and left the camp.
He further revealed that Lt. Gibril Saye, Lt. Lamin Darboe, Lt. Bakary Manneh Nyancho, Lt. Abdoulie Bah and Cadet A.M. Sillah were among those put inside the vehicle.
He told the Commission that some hours later, he saw Lt. Sana Sabally’s convoy consisting of the council members and their orderlies, the Army Commander and the Land Rover returned with bodies covered with leaves and some legs hanging out.
He further told the Commission that he knew that catastrophe has happened and he saw the Land Rover parked near the cook house and there was movement of soldiers.