“We once watch Sanna tie a live animal and started slitting its stomach, pulling out the intestines. When we asked why he was doing that instead of just killing the animal first, he said he wanted to see how the animal dies a slow death. In another instance, we were sitting by the market at night when a dog came walking towards us. Sanna quietly and calmly walks over to the approaching dog pulling a long cable wire we used to make a weapon out of, he slams the dog with it just once.
The whipping was so severe, the poor dog just walked around in a circle before finally dropping dead. All the while he watched with pleasure and gratitude, marveling at how the innocent creature made his last breath. Growing up with Sanna, and now looking back, this guy committed the most horrific crimes against animals one can imagine, and hearing about the crimes he is committing on behalf of Yahya Jammeh against innocent Gambians now, the man truly has a penchant for abusing any living breathing creature – he enjoys watching the cruel dying process” A Faturadio Caller.
Such was the description of one of the cruelest members of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s renegade security force called the Jungulars. This group is responsible for most of the most brutal killings of innocent Gambians. Since when he first unleashed these beasts on the defenseless population, they have been responsible and bragged about the killing of renown journalist Deyda Hydara, Daba Marena, 44 Ghanaian migrants whose boat drifted onto the beach in the Brufut and mistaken by Yahya for mercenaries on a mission to invade, and countless others – a list too long to enumerate here. Even newspaper offices are not off limits – The Independent Newspaper was burnt down by this group, Sanna headed that mission; even burning his own hands in the process. Mostly high on drugs and alcohol when he is dismembering his victims, Sanna’s killing method is the subject of discussions on a frequent basis on the Gambian online radio – most of the details too grueling to elaborate on. One has to take him seriously when he brags to friends that their group is in reality the one in power and they can even take Yahya out if they want to. So it is no surprise that he remains Yahya Jammeh’s most trusted when it comes to carrying out such terror.
Sanna Manjang hailed from a village called Kanmamudu in Fonni Jarrol District. His father, Saikou Nduro Manjang, who died around 2006/7 was so independent minded, he was nicknamed Manjang Kunda Toubabo (the Manjang Kunda Westerner). Saikou made a living repairing bicycles and motor bikes in Brikama, next the old Court house. He always made sure Sanna and his siblings had everything they needed, even gave Sanna a motor bike to ride to Brikama Secondary School also known as Alpha Khan that Sanna attended. Despite all the efforts of his dad, Sanna only graduated with 1 Credit, 2 Passes (a very poor score by Secondary School standards) from Alpha Khan. His mother’s name is Maymay Sambou. His mother’s brother Lieutenant Edrissa Sambou, a Medic in the Army, was the one who helped enlist Sanna in The Gambia National Army. Those who know the parents, lamented the fact that they will be devastated if they ever knew the crimes their son has been committing – they are the most humble, kind, and generous parents one could wish for. The dad according to one of the acquaintances, must be rolling in his grave.
The interesting pattern that has also emerged about the Jungular’s, unlike their cruel counterparts in N.I.A, is that their gruesome killings do have a very profound effect on their emotional wellbeing and social life – they are always drinking a lot, abusing drugs, marrying and divorcing girls on the fly, mostly hiding during the day, and have no emotional feelings whatsoever. Sanna’s life epitomizes this condition. Someone who knows him so well recalled an incident in which he “lost his finger while trying to jump into his girlfriend’s home in London Corner, Serre Kunda. An iron on the fence caught his finger and almost cut it all off. He drove himself at night to Military clinic in Banjul. At first, doctors wanted to stitch the fingers but he ask them to cut it all off. I was a living witness to this incident.” Another person present even said “While the doctors were working on his finger, he was singing a male circumcision song like there was no pain in his body.” All his marriages ended in divorce, in one instance, marrying two women and divorcing both on the same day. The only constant in his life is his parrot he named Oga. This poor bird is forced to inhale marijuana that Sanna himself smokes a lot, forcing it to make a lot of weird noises that he (Sanna) loves to enjoy and laugh at.
A special acknowledgement is due to Bai Lowe who was among the first to alert the world to the cruelty and brutality of Sanna Manjang and his colleagues. The terror that this group has inflicted on The Gambian population will be the subject of a lot of investigations, litigations, and prosecutions once Yahya Jammeh is gone. With so many killed, disappeared, and tortured, one can only hope that the misery ends soon – sooner enough to allow this battered nation to heal and get itself on a course to providing safety and security to a deserving population. We must keep alive.