Witness recounts events of Nov. 11 1994

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Mafugi Sonko,a driver with the Tactical Support Group(TSG) of the Gambia Gendarmerie yesterday narrated the bitter experience he had in the November 11th 1994 alleged foiled coup-d’-etat.

He recalled that on the 11th of November, 1994, whilst at Fajara Barrack at about 9:00 p.m., whilst taking rest as he was not on duties on that fateful day, Lt. Benny Minteh called him and asked him to take some Lieutenants to Yundum Barrack.

He explained that he quickly dressed up and went to the guardroom, picked up the key to the vehicle and picked the group of soldiers that he was to transport to Yundum Barrack, standing around the guardroom.

He recalled that Lt. Basirou Barrow, Lt. L.F. Jammeh, Lt. Lamin Darboe, Lt. Buba (Kekoyo) Jammeh and Lt. Nyancho Sanneh boarded the vehicle (Land Rover) at about 10:00 p.m. and left for Yundum Barrack.

The witness disclosed that whilst he was taking the officers to Yundum Barrack, they were chatting among themselves, they neither had no guns nor ammunitions in their possession.

He said as he drove and entered into Yundum Barracks, they were greeted with sporadic gun shots shelling his vehicle and all the soldiers, he said he was carrying and jumped from the vehicle.

He explained that the officers were captured except Lt. L. F. Jammeh who escaped using the airport direction.

He indicated that Lt. Peter Singhateh, one Staff Sergeant Batch Samba Jallow, Edward Singhateh’s driver was among those who captured them.

He said they were undressed and stripped of their military uniform left with only their underpants, they were forced to lie on the ground, beaten, kicked and hit with the rifle butt.

He told the Commission that he heard Peter Singhateh said “fuck them this nonsense-people,” adding that he sustained injuries as a result of the beating.

He explained that about four to five soldiers were beating each and every captured soldier and they were asked to crawl from the gate to the guardroom and locked in cell.

The witness revealed that as they entered the guardroom, Peter Singhateh came in and when he saw him, Peter said “this one Mafugi Sonko is not among” and he was separated from the other soldiers and taken aside.

He said after a little while, Peter Singhateh had conversation with the captured lieutenants who were not armed.

He revealed that they were later taken to Mile 2 Prisons and they were made to crawl from the Mile 2 Prisons gate to the remand wing, whilst they were being kicked, beaten and rifle-butted.

He further revealed that whilst they were locked inside the cells at the remand wing, Lt. Abdoulie Dot Faal and some other soldiers were brought in.

He explained that Lt. Faal was bleeding from his right eye as his eye was completely damaged; and he was almost paralysed as he was the very one who was helping him.

The witness disclosed that the junta members except Yahya Jammeh and some senior military officers were present at Mile 2 Prisons.

He said Lt. Faal was placed in the same cell with him and he observed that Lt. Faal had lost his jaw completely.

Mafugi Sonko told the Commission that whilst at the Remand wing, Lt. Sana Sabally told Peter Singhateh to wait and that they were going to the State House and seek for orders as to know their next line of action.

He further told the Commission that after Sana Sabally, Sadibou Hydara, Edward Singhateh and their guards left for the State House, Lt. Peter Singhateh and Samba Batch Jallow remained.

The witness stated that when Lt. Sana Sabally returned from the State House, he ordered Peter Singhateh to bring the captured soldiers and that they were going to Fajara Barrack where they were going to be executed.

He said two vehicles were filled with the captured soldiers but Lt. Dot Faal could not climb the vehicle but he assisted him.

“We dragged him to get to the vehicle and at Fajara Barrack, we were lined up along the road” he said.

The witness told the Commission that as they were lined up standing, Lt. Sana Sabbally informed them that they were going to kill all of them starting from lieutenants to sergeants.

He indicated that the captured soldiers were divided and Lt. Sadibou Hydara said they are the people who wanted to overthrow the government but they were going to put the gun into their asses.

The witness told the Commission that after they spoke, he spoke and responded that he knows nothing about the coup and that it was Lieutenant Minteh that asked him to take Lt. Basirou Barrow and others to Yundum Barrack.

The witness further told the Commission that Lt. Edward Singhateh then suggested that they be taken from the guardroom area to the field.

He explained that Lt. Dot Faal was dragged along the ground to the field.

Mafugi Sonko revealed that after Lt. Sana Sabally made several consultations with Lt. Edward Singhateh, Lt Peter Singhateh asked him (the witness) to bring Lt. Dot Faal.

He further revealed that Lt. Abdoulie Dot Faal was the first person to be shot but he didn’t die immediately.

Hearing continues today for the witness to finish his testimony.

Author: Bruce Asemota