Aug 27, 2008, 6:36 AM
Landing Sanneh, a former State Guard Commander and cousin to former president
Yahya Jammeh has described former President Jammeh as one of the “worst
citizens Africa ever had”, vowing he will shoot Jammeh if he happens to returns to the country anytime.
Born in Kanwally village in the Fonis in 1964, the former army lieutenant was enlisted into the then Gambia National Army in 1984.
It was in July 2000, when Lt. Sanneh alongside late Almamo Manneh were accused of trying to overthrow Yahya Jammeh. He was eventually sentenced by a court-martial to a 16-year jail term. However, he spent 15 years seven months in prison before his eventual release through a presidential pardon in 2015.
In a recent exclusive with the famous Coffee Time aired on West Coast Radio, the former State Guard Commander made it categorically clear that he shall never forgive Yahya Jammeh.
“Anybody who is campaigning for Yahya Jammeh to come back to the country, I will put on my uniform and I will take up arms and I am going to shot Jammeh.”
He added: “I don’t mind to die. I have my daughters and my boys who are grown up now. I am here waiting for Jammeh to come. I am going to raise arms against Jammeh if he returns to the country. You don’t know me but go and ask people that are in the army,” he said during the interview.
Sanneh claimed that he was brought up together with Yahya Jammeh when both of them were going to school at St. Edward’s and they were staying in the same village at Dobong under one guardian.
According to him, he was part of group of soldiers that escorted former President Yahya Jammeh to State House in Banjul during the 1994 Coup d’ etate. Shortly after the takeover in 1994, he was promoted to Second Lieutenant and sent to the Second Infantry Battalion in Farafenni as an Adjutant.
In 1995, he stated, he was recalled and posted at the State Guard Battalion as an assistance to Lang Tombong Tamba, who was the then State Guard Commander at the time.
“Eventually Lang Tombong Tamba was sent on a course to Ghana, then I took over as the state guard commander on the 16th of April 1996 to 14th of July 2000, when I was alleged together with Almamo Manneh of trying to overthrow Yahya Jammeh.”
He continued: “Subsequently, Almamo was killed during the process and I was detained at the Mile Two Central Prison for 16 years. If I had accepted the allegation of trying to overthrow Jammeh, I was not at the first place going to take a lawyer.”
Recalling the days of his arrest back in 2000, the ex-army officer claimed that former President Jammeh was part of the soldiers that arrested him in his compound.
He recalls: “Yahya Jammeh, personally came to my home together with Babucarr Jatta and others to arrest me. They didn’t tell me anything during the process of arresting me. They surrounded my compound and Jammeh gave orders and they started shooting. They shot inside my compound and eventually they shot me in my arm.”
Upon his arrest, he said, he was taken to Yundum Barrack where he was given a medical support. “From the Yundum Barrack, I was taken to the Mile Two Central Prison where I stayed for 15 years seven months before I was pardoned by Jammeh. After my release from prison, I tried all efforts to see Jammeh as cousin, but proved futile. I went to Kanilai to see him on several occasions but only to be told that Jammeh is busy on telephones and that he can’t see me.”
On some of the hard experience some of the inmates underwent during their time at Mile Two, Lt. Sanneh stated: “Nobody leaves the prison without being tortured. I was tortured physical and mentally. How can you be in a prison for 16 years without being torture? The prison is not a hotel and it’s not a place where someone can relax.”
Recently, Concerned Gambia Social Welfare, a group whose members are mostly living in the Diaspora conferred peace award on former President Jammeh, which was widely criticised by Jammeh’s victims.
The former army officer has this to say about the award: “Anybody who awarded Yahya Jammeh a certificate of peace is because he Jammeh has never touched you. Therefore, people awarding Jammeh certificate claiming that he maintains peace and stability in the country is all rubbish and it’s a mockery to the people that suffered under him.”
He said: “If Jammeh is thinking about coming back in the country and rule the people, it is ‘totally madness and Jammeh is a mad man, hence he should be taken to a psychiatric or a prison.”