May 10, 2013, 11:49 AM
Ex-Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Lang Tombong Tamba, and Rear Admiral Sarjo Fofana, former head of the Gambia Navy were on Friday 18th June 2010, arraigned at the high court in Banjul, charged with four counts of treasonable offences in connection with the 2006 foiled coup plot.
Lt. Gen. Tamba, who claimed to have led some loyal officers and soldiers to foil the 2006 coup attempt, and ex-navy commander Sarjo Fofana, who was the President of 2006 General Court Martial, both pleaded not guilty to the charges, before Justice Joseph E. Ikpala. During Friday's proceeding, Lang Tombong was represented by SM Tambedou. However, Rear Admiral Sarjo Fofana told the court that he has been in detention for almost four months without seeing his family, and applied to the court for access to his family so as to arrange for the service of a counsel.
Justice Ikpala ordered that Mr. Fofana be given the opportunity to have access to his family and counsel.
The accused persons were remanded in custody, and the case was adjourned to 25th June 2010.
The two former senior officers in the Gambia armed forces are charged with conspiracy to commit treason, treason, and two counts of concealment of treason.
The particulars of offence on count one stated that Lt. General Tamba and Sarjo Fofana, between January to 21 March 2006, conspired with Colonel Ndure Cham and others now at large, to stage a coup and overthrow the President and the democratically-elected government of The Gambia by force of arms.
Count two alleged that Lt. General Tamba and Sarjo Fofana, between January to 21 March 2006, endeavoured to stage a coup and overthrow the President and the democratically-elected government of The Gambia by force of arms.
Count three stated that Lt. General Tamba, between January to 21 March 2006, knowing that Colonel Ndure Cham, Sarjo Fofana and others now at large intended to stage a coup and overthrow the President and the democratically-elected government of The Gambia, did not give information within all reasonable time to a minister, magistrate or a police officer.
Count four stated that Lt. General Tamba, between January to 21 March 2006, knowing that Colonel Ndure Cham, Sarjo Fofana and others now at large intended to stage a coup and overthrow the president and the democratically-elected government of The Gambia, did not take reasonable and necessary steps to prevent the commission of the offence.
Lt. Gen Tamba is already on trial alongside seven others for his alleged part in a failed coup plot last year, before Justice Emmanuel Amadi at the high court.
In connection with the March 2006 foiled coup attempt, it would be recalled that following their conviction, some military officers, Capt. Bunja Darboe, Capt. Wassa Camara, Capt. Yahya Darboe, and 2nd Lt. Pharing Sanyang were sentenced to life imprisonment each.
Capt Abdou Karim Jah, Lt Momodou Alieu Bah and Cpl Samba Bah were sentenced to 25 years imprisonment each. Captain Pierre John Mendy, L/ Cpl Babou Janha and Private Alhagie Nying were also sentenced to 10 years imprisonment each, after being convicted for their involvement in the March 2006 coup attempt.
Lt. Momodou Alieu Bah was, however, released on the 29th November 2009, and subsequently reinstated in the armed forces.
The civilians who were tried by the high court for their involvement in the 21st March 2006 foiled coup were Tamsir Jasseh, Alieu Jobe, and Omar Faal Keita. They were convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment each, while Hon. Demba Dem was acquitted and discharged.