Monday, July 22, 2024

Marabout testifies alleged coup plotters sought his help

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By: Ousman Saidykhan

Yahya Manjang, the 2nd witness who identified himself as a marabout and teacher, has Thursday, February 16 testified in the case involving the state and five men alleged to have been involved in a foiled coup plot against President Adama Barrow’s government late last year. The witness said he was approached by the accused persons for help sometime in November 2022.

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Lance Corporal Sana Fadera (alleged ringleader), Petty Officer Gibril Darboe, Corporal Ebrima Sanno, Corporal Omar Njie and Police Sub-Inspector, Fa Bakary Jawara are charged with four counts: Treason; Concealment of Treason; Conspiracy, and Inciting mutiny.

The Busura-native who identified himself as Yaya Manjang, a teacher and marabout, said he received one Mustapha Jabbi who came to him with whom he identified as a friend – the 5th accused person, Fabakary Jawara. He could not remember the date he received the visitors.

The witness said the 5th accused told him that things were not going normally in the country and as a result, he wanted the witness to do an “Istikhara” for him as one of his relatives wanted to execute a coup.

“Istikhara” in Islam means seeking guidance (from Allah) to make a decision concerning something.

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Mr. Manjang told the court he then told him he could not do what they wanted him to do but asked them to give out charity: cola nuts, candles and kill a white goat.

He said sometime later he told Fabakary that if they wanted to do a coup, they should go to Mauritania or Touba for help.

In one of the visits, the witness said Fabakary came to him with one Sanna, whom he could not recognise because it was at night.

The witness told the court he was arrested by the police in his compound and taken to the Brikama Police Station and then to the NIA in Banjul after spending 10 days in Senegal, where he saw in the news that some people were arrested in connection to a foiled coup.

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“I was asked what I know about the coup, and I told them what I know. They asked me to call my people to come and bail me out. My people came, they bailed me, and I went home,” Yaya Manjang narrated.

The Witness said he met Fabakary Jawara, the 2nd accused three times; twice at night and once at around 3 p.m. but could not remember the dates he met him.

“I was having a problem the time they visited me. My nephew was sick, and I was told that I should take him to Senegal for treatment before a particular period. Secondly, my wife conceived that’s why I can’t remember when they came there,” the witness said.

Defence counsel Camara said the witness’s mind was mixed up at the time which was why he could not know who said what.

“I am putting it to you, Mr Manjang, that Fabakary Jawara never solicited your spiritual intervention in furtherance of a coup.

“I am also putting it to you Mr Manjang [that] neither Fabakary Jawara nor Sanna spoke to you about a planned coup,” defence counsel, LS Camara said during cross-examination.

The matter has been adjourned to 21st February 2023.

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