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Military Officer testifies in Tamba, Fofana trial

Nov 9, 2010, 11:19 AM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Temothy Sanyang, a senior military officer, is the fourth prosecution witness to testify in the treason trial involving Lt General Lang Tombong Tamba, former chief of defence staff and Rear Admira Sarjo Fofana, former naval chief of staff at the special criminal court before Justice Ikpala.

The duo are been tried in connection with the 21st March 2006 abortive coup attempt allegedly masterminded by Colonel Ndure Cham, also a former chief of defence staff.

The indictment includes treason, conspiracy to commit treason and concealment of treason. Both have denied the charges against them.

In his testimony, Temothy Sanyang told the court that he hailed from Kabekel village in Kombo Central district of the West Coast Region, and that he knew the accused persons.

"I also knew former CDS Colonel Ndure Cham. I served under him, when I was promoted to warrant officer class one RSM," he told the court.

"I worked under the 2nd accused as a regimental major in 2006, and I was promoted to RSM and lieutenant in 2006," he added.

PW4, as designated by the court, adduced that he was posted at the Gambia Armed Forces Defence Headquarters and was a provost marshal during the 2006 court martial held at the Yundum Barracks, and was responsible for the military police.

"The court martial was set up to try accused persons involved in the 2006 abortive coup plot," Sanyang said.

"I was responsible for the escort of the accused persons from the State Central Prison to Yumdum Barracks, where the venue for the trial was situated," he further told the court.

He named Cpt. Bunja Darboe, Cpt. Yahya Darboe, 2nd Lt Faring Sanyang, then Lt Momodou Alieu Bah (PW1) and Cpt. Pierre Mendy as some of the officers tried during the court martial.

"We collected the accused persons from the prison to the military police office in Yundum Barracks, waiting for the commencement of their trial," he added.

"While I was in my office, my office telephone rang, then Captain Lamin Bo Badjie identified himself as the caller, and we spoke over the phone," he added.

According to PW4, Lamin Bo Badjie was his intake mate in the army, and he (Bo) told him over the phone that he wanted to talk to PW1 in the ongoing trial (Momodou Alieu Bah).

"I call PW1 (then accused person in the 2006 abortive coup) to answer to the call, and I left to where the other accused persons were seated," he told the court.

PW4 further adduced that after speaking on the phone, PW1 came back to where the rest of his co-accused persons were seated.

The witness was not cross-examined by defence counsel L.K. Mboge, who also held brief for SM Tambedou.

The Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, M. Abdullahi, rose and told to the court that the prosecution was applying for an adjournment to call their next witness.

Defence counsel L.K. Mboge objected to the prosecution’s application for an adjournment.

"My lord, this is because the prosecution has filed a list of witnesses and witness one and three in the list, Bunja Darboe and Yahya Darboe, are in the custody of the state. If the state is ready, they can call their next witness," counsel submitted.

He said the prosecution had not given any justifiable reason(s) seeking for an adjournment.

"This is a treason trial, and the accused persons are yet to know their fate," Mboge stated, while urging the court to close the prosecution case so that the accused persons could open their defence.

Justice Ikpala overruled the defence objection and adjourned the case till 15th December 2010.

The accused persons were escorted to the court premises by security personnel with both hands cuffed and feet shackled in chains.