(Friday 18 October 2019 Issue)
On the second day of his testimony before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) on Thursday, Edward Singhateh confirmed that on November 10 and 11, 1994, he shot a soldier, whom he cannot remember now, at Fajara Barracks and ordered the killing of 11 other soldiers at Yundum Barracks.
said the shootings followed rumours of coup in the making and they decided to
go to Yundum to appeal to the officers in a meeting for them to calm down.
Sabally told me to go with the officers to Statehouse because a coup is being
launched and they will come to arrest us in our compounds. I told my brother to
go along with me. When we reached Statehouse, we divided ourselves into three
groups for that operation. One group stayed at the Statehouse, one went to the
bridge and the other proceeded to Yundum.”
said their agreement was to take more prisoners; which meant to arrest more. He
said before they were able to take over Yundum Barracks, there was exchange of
gunshots for a couple of hours at both Yundum and Fajara Barracks but there
were no casualties.
counsel Essa Faal told him that many witnesses had testified before the
Commission but did not say there were no gunshots, telling him that innocent
soldiers were killed in cold blood.
Singhateh insisted that he was speaking the truth, saying when they reached
Abuko with Sana and the team, he asked them to wait while he went and checked
the situation. “I went there, using the back way with Senghore and one other
soldier. When we entered the Barracks, we could see more soldiers and
movements. One of the soldiers came near us and I grabbed his neck, held his
mouth and brought him back to avoid noise. Later, I heard gunshots and knew
they were firing at their opponent, Sana.”
added that after taking the guardroom and the sentinels, a group was deployed
to do the arresting. “Basiru Barrow was arrested upon arrival at Yundum
Barracks and beaten. I didn’t do anything to stop the beating because we were
angry, as they wanted to kill us with our families.”
former junta member explained that they were informed that another coup was to
be conducted at Fajara, and they proceeded and attacked there in three groups,
adding that first group that entered the Barracks was led by Baboucarr Jatta,
the second one was led by he and the third one by Sanna Sabally.
and my group went into a storey building and we were fired at. We later
proceeded to an old mosque and there too, we were shot at and later proceeded
to the guard room, but at the gate, someone was firing at us and we fired back
to take the gate. I saw another soldier approaching us and I asked him to hold
but he didn’t and I shot him but he didn’t die.”
told the Commission that throughout his military career, it was only once that
he shot someone whom he could not remember. He said while at Fajara Barracks,
he threw a grenade into the house where Bunja Darboe was, and later arrested
and detained him.
indicated that after clearing the camp, Sanna asked the prisoners to be brought
and the commander shot two of them and the others ran but they were pursued.
Counsel Essa Faal the read the statements of Sanna and others, which indicated
that Edward had targeted the ring leaders and fired Lt. Basiru Barrow and Lt.
Dot Faal. But he replied that he didn’t fire at them.
said after the execution at Fajara Barracks, they proceeded to Yundum Barracks
where Sanna Sabally gave an order that the ring leaders should be executed.
“Fafa Nyang, E.M. Ceesay and Sgt. Basiru Camara were removed from the cell and
I ordered for them to be shot. We later went to state house and briefed Jammeh
about the killings and arrests and he asked us to go back and finish the job.
We proceeded to Yundum where we met Baboucarr Jatta and discussed with him in
the ante-room and waited for the detainees to be brought out.”
confirmed to the Commission that the detainees were tied, taken into the bush,
lined up and shot to death, adding that among them were Lt. Buba Jammeh,
Abdoulie Bah, Bakary Jammeh, Cadet Sillah and Gibril Sai.
denied shooting at detainees, saying that order was given to the junior
soldiers. He said the bodies were buried in Yundum Barracks and after that
operation, they gave false information to the public.