Kanyi commonly called Moofa Kanyi, an ex-soldier of The Gambia National Army
has confessed that he participated in the killing of the late finance minister,
Ousman Koro Ceesay and two other activities.
Alagie Kanyi who was a training instructor at the army training school before he left The Gambia National Army made this confession whilst testifying before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) chaired by Adelaide Sosseh.
The witness widely regarded as the first perpetrator who has appeared before the Commission to confess his dealings and involvement in human right violations and abuses in the erstwhile Yahya Jammeh regime. He told the Commission that he participated in the killings at Yundum Barrack, Nyambai Forest near Brikama and the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay, the former Finance minister in Yahya Jammeh government.
The witness admitted that he was involved in the killing of Lt. Basirou Barrow and Sgt. Fafa Nyang at Yundum Barrack on the 11th November, 1994, he was also involved in the execution and burial of Lt. Gibril Saye, Lt. Abdoulie Bah alias Achopi, Lt. Buba Jammeh, Lt. Lamin Darboe, Lt. Bakary Manneh Nyancho and Cadet Amadou M. Sillah at Nyambai Forest near Brikama and the brutal murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay, Finance minister.
Narrating his testimony, the witness who hails from Jarra Sankuya was born on the 21st July 1965 and enlisted into the Gambia National Army in 1986 as the 5th intake. He told the Commission that he was part of the guards of honour parade at the Banjul International Airport that received Ex-President D.K. Jawara on the 21st July, 1994.
The witness disclosed that prior to Sir D.K. Jawara’s arrival at the airport, the soldiers were gathered at a point where they were searched by some Nigerian soldiers as a result of the rumour that suspicion of a planned coup-d’-etat.
He said the military police officers headed by Lt. Yahya Jammeh were searched and disarmed before president Jawara’s arrival.
He further said after the parade and upon their return to Yundum Barrack some soldiers were not happy considering what happened at the airport.
He pointed out that some soldiers were agitated and felt reluctant to return their weapons as he knew that there was a planned coup which was supposed to be carried out at the airport.
The witness stated that he saw some soldiers left for their home and so he did return to his residence in Brikama.
22nd July, 1994 show down
Alagie Kanyi told the Commission that he arrived at Yundum Barrack very early in the morning on the 22nd July, 1994 and he observed that the situation at the camp completely changed.
The witness further told the Commission that he proceeded to the guardroom and signed for weapon I;e AK 47 and he saw Lt. Yahya Jammeh, Lt. Edward Sighateh and Lt. Sana Sabbally and he went to collect ammunitions for his AK 47 riffle.
The witness disclosed that he heard Lt. Edward Sighateh spoke to Lt. Yahya Jammeh, saying “Sir let’s go, there is no senior man here.”
The witness said Lt. Jammeh, Lt. Sana Sabally and Lt. Edward Sighateh left for Banjul and the coup succeeded.
The witness further said he was posted to Banjulinding Police Station at about 2:00 p.m. to take charge of the said station.
Alagie Kanyi told the Commission that after the situation stabilized, he was promoted to the rank of corporal until the November 11th 1994.
He recalled that on the 10th November, 1994, Lt. Sana Sabally, Lt. Edward Sighateh, Lt. Sadibou Hydara and Lt. Yankuba Touray came to the camp to address the soldiers.
He said Lt. Sana Sabally cautioned the soldiers that they were aware that some soldiers were planning to stage a coup and that anyone caught would be mercilessly dealt with.
He also said Lt. Yankuba Touray and Lt. Sadibou Hydara spoke, thereafter they left, adding that he was later assigned by RSM. Babucarr Sanyang to conduct drilling session with some gendarmerie officers.
The ungodly eleven, eleven 1994
Alagie Kanyi told the Commission that he arrived at Yundum Barrack at about some minutes before 8:00 a.m., but was halted by one private soldier Colley around the back gate and was asked to double up to the guardroom.
He further told the Commission that whilst he was being escorted, he was informed that there was a coup and that Lt. Basirou Barrow was the leader.
He stated that at the guardroom, private Drammeh called him and asked to go to his house so that he can give him a military camouflage uniform to put; as it would spell trouble for him if the council members see him dress in his former uniform.
He further stated that after sometime, the council members, their orderlies and some soldiers came into the barracks accompanied by a truck.
He disclosed that after the truck parked, he climbed up the truck and behold, he saw Lt. Basirou Barrow and Lt. Abdoulie ‘Dot’ Faal lying lifeless inside the truck.
He said whilst inside the truck, he was given a pistol by lance corporal Batch Samba Jallow, Lt. Edward Sighateh’s driver to shoot the duo.
He said Lance Corporal Batch Samba Jallow said to him: “Look at your brothers, you people. You Jarankas want to be the president” and he threw a pistol to him and asked him to finish both Lt. Barrow and Lt. Dot Faal.
He disclosed that he observed that both Barrow and Dot Faal had their heads swollen with blood stain and when he pulled the pistol trigger, it couldn’t fire as the pistol was not loaded with bullet.
He further disclosed that he descended from the truck and Samba Jallow climbed and pulled the duo down the truck.
At this juncture, the witness told the Commission that he climbed the truck during daylight and debunked claims that he was holding a touch light to see them.
The witness revealed that after he descended from the truck, he was called by Lt. Sana Sabally who admonished him, saying “You the Jarankas wants to become the president,” whilst pointing at Barrow and that the next time was going to be him (Kanyi)’.
The witness said he felt like a dead man walking when Lt. Sana Sabally spoke to him, adding that he could be the next person to be killed.
He told the Commission that after that warning, he felt that Lt. Sabally was like a wounded lion, aggressive, crazy and as someone who has no regards for anybody.
He further told the Commission that thereafter Lt. Sabally called Captain Marong, the commanding officer of Yundum Barracks and asked him to stay with him.
The witness said he later went with Captain Marong to his office and whilst he stayed there for sometime, he came out and saw Sgt. Basirou Camara and Sgt. Fafa Nyang who were stripped naked with their hands tied their backs walking towards where Barrow and Dot Faal were lying.
He stated that he was instructed by both Sabally and Edward Sighateh to open fire at the two which he did.
The witness said he was among the soldiers that dug the pit that these soldiers were buried and after burying them, he returned to the Commanding Officers’ office.
“After killing the two, we took them to one side, opposite the senior NCOS’ mess and we buried them and I was among the soldiers who dug the grave with council member orderlies,” he disclosed.
He said Lance Corporal Batch Samba Jallow, Private J.C.B. Mendy, B.A. Njie and B. Njie alias Ponkal participated in the burial of Lt. Basirou Barrow, Lt. Abdoulie Dot Faal, Sgt. Fafa Nyang and Sgt. Basirou Camara.
The witness told the Commission that he was informed by Captain Marong inside his office that the captured soldiers were going to be executed.
He named the captured soldiers as: Lt. Gibril Saye, Lt. Abdoulie Bah ‘Achopi’, Lt. Buba Jammeh, Lt. Lamin Darboe, Lt. Bakary Manneh ‘Nyancho’ and Cadet Amadou Mbacke Sillah.
Alagie Kanyi told the Commission that he accompanied the entourage to the execution ground and participated in the shooting.
He noted that the officers were covered with tarpaulin, their hands were tied and put inside the Land Rover car and then taken to the execution ground around Nyambai forest near Brikama.
Narrating how these soldiers were executed the witness disclosed that they were put in an extended line giving their backs to Lt. Sana Sabally and co.
He said before Lt. Sabally and co started firing at them, they were asked to say their last prayers but it was only one Buba Jammeh who said that they should not kill them but to lock them and take them to jail.
He recalled that Lt. Sana Sabally, Lt. Edward Sighateh, Lt. Sadibou Hydara, Lt. Yankuba Touray, Col Bubacarr Jatta, the Army commander at the time, Lamin Fatty, Private B.A. Njie, Private J.C.B. Mendy, B. Njie Ponkal and Lance Corporal Marong took part in the firing where the captured soldiers were killed.
He said one E.M. Ceesay was killed by one Lance Corporal Mboob before they returned from the execution ground.
“After the execution of the officers they were taken back to Yundum Barrack and buried, thereafter the council members and their orderlies left,” he stated.
The witness denied claim that Momodou Badjie participated in the execution of the officers at Nyambai forest.
“I didn’t see Momodou Badjie at Yundum Barracks and at the forest,” he declared.
Alagie Kanyi admitted that he participated in the burial of the officers but denied claims that he chopped off Lt. Gibril Saye’s legs before being buried because his legs couldn’t fit into the grave.
He said after November 11th 1994 massacre, he was moved to Bravo Company and later to the training school at Fajara Barrack and then back to Yundum Barrack.
Murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay
Alagie Kanyi who goes with the sobriquet Moofa Kanyi told the Commission that he participated in an operation organised by Lt. Edward Sighateh.
He disclosed that it was on a particular day whilst he was in his residence in Brikama when he was picked up by one Staff Sergeant B.K. Jatta. He said they later picked Sgt. Pa Alieu Gomez and Tumbul Tamba and proceeded to Lt. Edward Sighateh’s residence at Cape-Point.
He explained that whilst there, Lt E. Sighateh briefed them in the presence of his brother, Lt. Peter Sighateh and he said: “We are going to get rid of one fucking cunt.”
The witness told the Commission that they used three vehicles, the four in one vehicle, Peter Singhateh in another vehicle and Edward Singhateh in a separate vehicle and drove to Lt. Yankuba Touray’s residence around Sengambia area.
He further told the Commission that upon arrival at Yankuba’s residence, Edward asked them to wait and said: ‘Kanyi, we are coming with one minister, you will be at the gate, when we come you will salute us and receive the minister.”
He said Edward Sighateh, Peter Sighateh and Yankuba Touray left for the airport but returned after few hours.
He stated when they returned it was Peter Sighateh who first came, rushed into the house, hid in the corridor.
“Edward Sighateh came and introduced the minister as Ousman Koro Ceesay to them,” he stated.
The witness disclosed that it was Peter Sighateh that first struck Ousman K. Ceesay from behind, followed by Edward Sighateh who used pestle and hit him three times and later Edward called and gave Yankuba Touray, each of them firewood to hit Ousman K. Ceesay.
He said the place was full of blood and they carried Ousman K. Ceesay into his official car and came back to clean the blood.
“Four of us carried him to his official car and came back and cleaned the blood stain, Peter Sighateh, Yankuba Touray and Edward Sighateh went away with the body,” he remarked.
Alagie Kanyi told the Commission that after some days, he noticed that Peter Sighateh has burnt hands whilst at the training school.
He said after some days they were called by Edward Sighateh and in that meeting Peter Sighateh was present, Edward Sighateh congratulated for killing Ousman Koro Ceesay.
“Edward said end of exercise, job well done and that is what is expected of a soldier,” he told the Commission.
“After the briefing Edward asked us not to ever disclose what happened and since then, I have never disclosed the issue with anybody,” he added.