By Lamin Njie
Sanna Bairo Sabally on Wednesday told the TRRC he is responsible for the brutal execution of at least a dozen soldiers in 1994.
“I’m responsible, counsel. I’m the commander on the ground and I gave the orders,” Sabally testified before the TRRC regarding the killing of army lieutenants Basirou Barrow and Abdoulie Faal.
“The rest of the group, when we came back the next day, we got the ringleaders, we took them to the Brikama range, not exactly at the Brikama range but the forest and we shot them and brought them back to Yundum Barracks for burial.”
Former AFPRC vice chairman Sanna Sabally formed a key part of a group of junior officers who overthrew the democratically elected government of Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara on July 22nd 1994.
At the TRRC tell-all on Wednesday, Sabally who oozed confidence said the July 22nd coup plotters ventured into the illegal act to enforce their rights as Gambians.
“We believed in any genuine democracy, the constitution is the supreme law. And we as the armed forces of The Gambia coupled with our Gambia Armed Forces Act we had a bounding duty (sic) to help preserve the country, to protect our national integrity,” Sabally said.
According to Sabally, the original day of the coup was on July 21st and the plan was to arrest former president Jawara as soon as he returned to the country from England.
“My task was to make sure that I block the airport gate to make sure that nobody goes out until Jammeh and Edward Singhatey had apprehended Jawara and his entourage.
“When they went to the airport for the guard of honour, I was only waiting for a call from Jammeh or Edward to start my operation. It never came. For me everything was completely destroyed.
“We had to go to plan B. The alternative was when that fails, we wage a war, we get hostages and then we raise the flag and then UN can come in.”
On the November 11, 1994 counter coup, Sabally said the junta had first classed it as a disturbance.
Sabally said: “On Thursday we have our cabinet meeting and on Friday we have our council meeting. On this particular Thursday, on the 10th of November 1994, we were in cabinet meeting. A call came from Samba Bah the then NIA director. He said, ‘vice.’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said there is disturbance reported at Yundum Barracks.
“Here we talked about a disturbance not a coup up to this time. We qualified it as a disturbance first. He said their was disturbance in the military barracks at Yundum. We called the army commander at the time Baboucarr Jatta and said we should addressed the situation immediately.”
Sabally’s appearance before the TRRC elicited unprecedented levels of interest.
Gambians first began to struggle in containing their emotions after it emerged early Wednesday that the former AFPRC junta No. 2 was the TRRC’s next witness.
Sabally will return to the commission on Thursday.