Col. Babucarr Sanyang, commander of Training Task Force in The Gambia National
Army yesterday started testifying before the Truth, Reconciliation and
Reparations Commission (TRRC) chaired by Dr. Lamin J. Sise.
The witness testified that he was enlisted into the Gambia National Army on the 11th August, 1984 but his training started in January 1985.
He disclosed that he was a drill instructor and had worked with different RSM and also Corporal Alagie Kanyi.
Lt. Col. Babucarr Sanyang told the Commission that on the 22nd July, 1994, he was at Farafenni Barrack conducting a teaching practice to gauge the students’ level of understanding in the field.
He further told the Commission that whilst in the field with the students, they received a call which eventually made them to stop their training.
He indicated that they were asked to go and draw their weapons and be on a standby.
He further indicated that there was instruction that some soldiers be nominated to go to Barra led by Lt. Sam Gibba and Lt. Yankuba Touray.
He said whilst they had prepared and were ready to go to Barra, they had logistical problems relating to getting a vehicle to transport them to Barra.
He revealed that it was at this point that Lt. L.F. Jammeh initiated the idea of using civilian vehicle, which they subsequently did.
He explained that they commandeered a truck into the barracks and the driver was instructed to take them to Barra.
The witness disclosed that after they boarded the truck they went to filling station and parked the truck in a bid to fuel the vehicle.
He stated that at the filling station, the driver of the truck abandoned the truck for the soldiers who then wrongly fill the truck with gasoline instead putting petrol.
He said the vehicle couldn’t move and they commandeered another vehicle which they used and headed for Barra.
The witness told the Commission that as they entered Kerewan, they found some police officers playing draft and asked whether they knew that something was happening in Banjul.
The witness said they replied in the negative and they proceeded to Kerewan Area Council where they met one Kebba Jawara, a staff of the Area Council who also told them that he was not aware that something was happening in Banjul.
Lt. Col. Sanyang pointed out that it was Yankuba Touray who later informed the group that there was a coup and he observed that Lt. Yankuba Touray and Lt. L.F. Jammeh were eager to get to Banjul.
He stated that Lt. Sam Gibba categorically disclosed that he would not be part of the coup, thus he took a back seat.
The witness said they crossed to Fort Bullen and lodged there and they were using there as an observatory point to monitor events in Banjul.
The witness further said they went to Barra and crossed from Barra to the Navy Headquarters where they spent two days.
The witness pointed out that prior to getting to Barra, Lt. L.F. Jammeh and Lt. Yankuba Touray had already crossed from Barra and had already arrived in Banjul.
He told the Commission that when they left the Navy Headquarters, they went to the State House where they stayed as soldiers for The Reaction Force (QRF).
He further told the Commission that whilst at the State House, he was informed as to what transpired and he was persuaded to go and meet the council members on the premise that he would be promoted.
He said at the State House, they were not given any responsibility until a particular day when they were called by the late S.P. Mendy, the then State Guard commander who informed them that they have been redeployed to the Army Headquarters where they were briefed by the Lt. Col. Momodou Badjie and was moved to Yundum Barrack.
The witness revealed that Lt. Basirou Barrow was the Chief Officer of Yundum Barrack and Sgt. Nyiang Kabareh was the RSM of Yundum Barrack.
He further revealed that when he reported at Yundum Barrack, he met Sgt. Nyiang Kabareh who took him to Lt. Basirou Barrow.
He said Lt. Barrow expressed appreciation for coming to Yundum Barrack, thereafter he was introduced to Lt. Gibril Saye.
Lt. Col. Babucarr Sanyang disclosed that November 11, 1994 coincided with the Remembrance Day cerebration and was scheduled to take place on the 13th of November, 1994.
He further disclosed that he was responsible for the rehearsal of the parade for the Remembrance Day and at the time Alagie Kanyi was one of his drill instructor.
The witness told the Commission that prior to the Remembrance Day celebration, the altitude of the officers was very different.
Hearing continues today.