By Lamin Njie

The National Security Adviser Momodou Badjie has said that he did not witness the brutal elimination of at least a dozen of soldiers some 23 years ago.

The top adviser to President Adama Barrow has been fighting for his name after an unidentified witness last week told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission that the ex-army colonel was present when a group of soldiers were killed on November 11, 1994.

Badjie, reacting to the claim, said in a statement: “I wish to commend the TRRC for their efforts to put light on the gross human rights abuses and violations that took place during the second republic so as to establish accurate historical records for generations yet unborn.

“However, listening to television and some of the FM radios and reading local newspapers, I felt that the first unidentified (anonymous) witness perambulating on his recollections made some allegations without any basis, maliciously presented as a mean of misleading the local as well as the international audiences following the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission.

“I have learnt that the anonymous witness’s proclamation about my presence at that extrajudicial killings of soldiers of the Gambia National Army with distress and huge surprise to me, my family and those that know me. Everyone that knows me will agree that I am a man with humility, compassion and great respect for human dignity and the respect for the due process.

“During his testimony on 17th January 2019, the anonymous witness stated that I was present during the alleged senseless extrajudicial execution of some members of the Gambia National Army, at Fajara Barracks, on 11th November 1994. This allegation associating me to that tragic night, was totally false, malicious and deceitful. I can testify at any court of law that the anonymous witness’s statement regarding my presence at this horrific scene was unfounded and pure distortion of the facts. There is ample evidence that in the month of August 1994, I and six other colleagues of the army were deployed to the Ministry of Local Government and Lands wherein we were appointed as mayors and divisional commissioners respectively. Specifically, I was serving as divisional commissioner in Mansakonko during the 11th November 1994 incident.

“Sorrowfully, I learnt this alleged senseless killing of the members of the GNA with shock and trauma, even more traumatic for me, was when I learnt the killing of the alleged counter-coup leader Lt Basiru Barrow, who was not only my colleague in the armed forces but also my best friend. Lt Barrow and I used to share our lives together, our two families are extremely associated. In fact, it the late Colonel SP Mendy (then Lieutenant Mendy) who called me to informed me of this sad news. I can still recall the manner in which it was relayed; ‘Badjie, Your Man is Gone.’

“Candidly, I learnt of his death with extreme sorrow and grief and those people who were with me in Mansakonko that day witnessed me consumed by grief and sorrow as I have lost a brother in a premeditated and horrific manner. There is no way that I could be present at the senseless killing of my own brother or any of his associates.

“Contrary to his allegations that I was standing while the November 11 alleged coup plotters were being summarily executed, I wish to set the records straight by informing the general public that I was never present or a witness to those incidents.

“During my long career of working within the security and diplomatic services, I have never taken part or being complicit, aided or abetted in any actions or crimes that perpetuates unspeakable horrors of state brutalities against citizens of The Gambia, including any members of the Gambia National Army. As I was in Mansakonko on the 11th of November 1994, there is no substantive evidence to support the witness’s claims that I was present at that alleged carnage of Gambian soldiers and I have credible witnesses who can support my assertions.

“I therefore refute his claims and demand my total exoneration from any liabilities associated to this alleged horrendous crimes perpetuated against members of the Gambia National Army on 11 November 1994.”