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 TRRC LIVE: Testimonies of Sana Bairo Sabally
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10622 Posts

Posted - 24 Apr 2019 :  12:23:45  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sana Bairo Sabally former Vice Chairman of the AFPRC at the TRRC Part 1

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone


10622 Posts

Posted - 24 Apr 2019 :  14:21:17  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sana Bairo Sabally at the TRRC Part 2

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Posted - 24 Apr 2019 :  16:49:46  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Part 3

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Posted - 25 Apr 2019 :  12:52:30  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sana Sabally Day 2 part 1

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Posted - 25 Apr 2019 :  14:54:21  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sana Sabally Day 2 part 2

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Posted - 26 Apr 2019 :  11:25:53  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sanna Sabally Confesses to Gross Atrocities He Committed

Foryaa: April 25, 2019

By Yankuba Jallow

Sanna B. Sabally has made some confessions before the TRRC about his involvement in the killings and gross human rights violations of soldiers and civilians during his tenure as the vice chairman of the redundant AFPRC.

He made several confessions about the killings of soldiers, pointing out that he was the commander of the operations of the AFPRC along with his colleagues and their orderlies.

About the Nigerian Soldiers

Sabally said the presence of the Nigerian soldiers (NATAG) in the command of the GNA was humiliating to Gambian officers.

“I never accepted it and I know my other colleagues did not accept it. They treated us with no dignity and the Nigerian officers used to disgrace our senior officers,” he said, adding that the Nigerians were supposed to provide training but ended up taking command of the GNA.

He said the NATAG were successful in transforming the administrative structure of the GNA but failed in terms of operations.

“The operation side was negative because they did not train us on anything we did not know. They came with expired weapons into The Gambia. They were only good in the classroom but when it comes to the ground (field) work, they were nothing,” the witness said.

He said the NATAG officers weren’t using Gambian officers as their subordinates instead they took total control of the command.

“I think they would have used Gambian officers as their subordinates so that if they complete their mission, the Gambian officers will continue from there,” Sabally said.

He said this was the time he conceived the idea to change the situation.

“This was the first reason for the coup. NATAG told us that before they leave the country that they will identify a commander in chief among senior Gambian officers. With this, our senior officers were fighting on their individual course to become the chief of defence staff while our juniors were coming to us to complain about the situation they were faced with,” the ex-junta member explained.

He said he engaged 2nd Lieutenant Edward Singhatey in discussions and this was 7 months before the coup. He described the PPP government as a very corrupt government that was characterized by political intolerance, oppression and autocracy.

July 22nd Coup Plot

He said the final meeting for the preparations of the coup was held on Wednesday the 20th July 1994 and it was attended by himself, 2nd Lieutenants Sadibou Hydara and Edward Singhatey and Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh. He said Colonel Ndour Cham and Lieutenant Basirou Barrow disclosed to them that they have withdrawn from participating in the coup making. He told the Commission that 2nd Lieutenant Yankuba Touray was a full member of the AFPRC and that he was not a co-opted member although he was in Farafenni. He said they were talking to individuals who they trusted to join them in the coup.

The objective of the Coup

He said the main objective of the coup was to remove the NATAG and this was not possible without removing the PPP government.

He said when the rumour of the coup escalated within the military command, they transferred him to Farafenni Barracks on the 18th July 1994 but he came back. He said when he arrived in Farafenni, he took an excuse from his new Nigerian commander owing to family obligations which were accepted by the commander.

He said when he came back, he was busy executing the coup plan which was scheduled to have been carried out on the 21st July 1994 at the airport where ex-President Jawara and entourage would have been arrested by them.

He explained that Edward Singhatey and Yahya Jammeh were armed and tasked to arrest ex-president Jawara whilst he was left at the Yundum Barracks to block the entrance of the airport. He said when Jammeh and Singhatey came back they informed him that they were disarmed at the airport.

“The rumour of the coup was known by the authorities but there was a failure in intelligence within the army and the NSS,” Sabally detailed.

He said when the coup failed on the 21st July, he told his colleagues that the plan must be executed or else they would be arrested by their authorities. He said at around 3 to 4 am on the 22nd July, he called Yahya Jammeh to go and collect Edward Singhatey and Sadibou Hydara and come to the Ynudum Barracks adding that he informed Jammeh that the coup must be carried out in the morning or else they would face arrest.

He detailed that before Jammeh came along with Singhatey and Hydara to the Barracks, he had already smuggled weapons out of the armoury and that the coup must be carried out. He said Lieutenant Basirou Barrow asked the person in charge of motor vehicles in the Barracks to withdraw all fuel in the military vehicles so that they won’t have any vehicles to use when embarking on the coup.

“At this time, there was no leader and we were not interested in leadership,” Sabally said adding that their target was to use military vehicles but that was not possible so they jumped over the fence and confiscated government vehicles and brought them into the Barracks and loaded them with weapons and men.

He said Alagie Sahou Sabally, an ex-vice president and minister of defence during the reign of the PPP and the NATAG played no role in the July 1994 coup.

The Coup

He said each of them was tasked to execute a role adding that Yahya Jammeh and Edward Singhatey were tasked to go into Banjul and do the takeover whilst he was left behind to destroy the communication cables at GAMTEL and other places, take over the Fajara Barracks and mount a checkpoint at the airport junction, take over the police headquarters among others.

He said after successfully completing his task, he went to Banjul where he met Jammeh and the entourage had already taken over the State House. He added that senior officers in the GNA were called and addressed by Jammeh that a monkey won’t work and baboons eat.

“We left Yankuba Touray at Farafenni to delay the men whenever they are sent to reinforce the State Guard at the State House,” Sabally said. He also said that Ynakuba Touray was also part of the coup plotters.

He said Yahya Jammeh was the most senior, followed by himself, then Yankuba Touray, Sadibou Hydara and Edward Singhatey who was their most junior. He indicated that Colonel Ndour Cham could have been the chairman of the Council and Lieutenant Basirou Barrow as the vice chairman but they all rescinded to participate in the coup.

He said they formed a cabinet and civilians were identified to join their government. He indicated that Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang was identified because they wanted to gain international recognition.

Arrest of Chongan and Others

He said their arrest came about when a police officer came to the State House and informed him that Ebrima Chongan and other senior officers were holding a meeting at the police headquarters to stage a coup. He explained that he picked up Sadibou Hydara and went straight to the police headquarters and met him at that meeting.

Sabally admitted to the fact that he humiliated the officers whilst arresting them, adding them he detained them at Mile II. He said the arrested soldiers included Captain Momodou K. Sonko and other police officers.

“I apologize to them and the Gambia at large that the way and manner in which I arrested them was humiliating. It should not have happened,” he remarked.

Sabally admitted that his convoy used to assault civilians using the road whenever he feels that they were an obstacle to them.

He said on the 6th September 1994 the State House got information from one Daba Marenah, an intelligent officer that Ebrima Chongan and others who were detained at Mile II were sending information through diplomatic calls. Following this information, Sabally said he went to Mile II along with Edward Singhatey, Sadibou Hydara and Yankuba Touray as well as their guards ‘to teach them a lesson.’

He admitted ordering the torture of Ebrima Chongan, RSM Baboucar Jeng and Captain Momar O. Cham at Mile II on that day.

“They were beaten severely under my command. It was my personal decision and I was responsible for their torture. I did the shooting personally just to scare them,” Sabally said.

About the November 11 Incident

He said on the 8th November the Council (AFPRC) received a call from the then DG of NSS, Mr Samba Bah, that there was a disturbance at the Yundum Barracks. He said he led a delegation that went to the Yundum Barracks to address the men and officers to desist from the plan they were embarking on. He said he told them that anyone who persisted in carrying on with the plan will be killed. He said at this point, the officers and men at the Yundum Barracks told him that Lieutenant Basirou Barrow misinformed them that soldiers at the State House were paid D10000 each.

“I told them that anyone who wanted to overthrow our government will be killed,” Sabally said.

He said on the 10th November, he got information that soldiers have broken into the armoury and took live rounds. He added that it was at this juncture he called his colleagues and informed them about the information. He said when his colleagues came, they proceeded to the State House where they held a meeting with their chairman and head of the government then.

“Our decision was to go and meet the enemies. The decision was to go and kill the enemies,” he said.

He said many soldiers at the State Guard volunteered to join them but stopped at the Denton Bridge.

“It was only the vehicles of the council that attacked the Yundum Barracks. All those who volunteered to join us at the State House stayed back at the Denton Bridge and I did not notice when they dropped from the mission,” he said.

He said at the Yundum Barracks, they arrested Lieutenant Basirou Barrow and Abdoulie ‘Dot’ Faal.

“Lieutenant Barrow and ‘Dot’ Faal were beaten seriously because they were our enemies,” Sabally said.

He said they confiscated a book from Lieutenant Barrow which has the names of the council members and CDS Colonel Baboucar Jatta as their main targets. Sabally explained that the target of the coup makers was to arrest and execute the Council members and their families and this was written in Lieutenant Barrow’s book. He said after the coup plotter were tortured, Lieutenant Barrow and ‘Dot’ Faal were put in a cell.

He said he ordered for Lieutenant Barrow and ‘Dot’ Faal to be brought out and put into a truck and taken to the Fajara Barracks.

“I accept responsibility of the beatings of the captured soldiers because I was the commander and all other council members were under my command,” Sabally stated.

He told the Commission that CDS Jatta has not participated in the killings of the soldiers because he was not even armed.

He said after taking over the Fajara Barracks, he ordered for all captured soldiers to be lined up at the football field where two of the ring leaders – Lieutenant Barrow and ‘Dot’ Faal were killed.

“I am responsible for their killings because I was the commander,” Sabally confessed.

He said Chairman Jammeh was in agreement with the killing of the ring leaders.

“We killed them because they had the same aim and ambition to kill us,” Sabally said.


Ex-Captain Sanna Bairo Sabally said he was born on the 20th February 1965 in Kassa Kunda Village in the West Coast Region. He said after completing his secondary education in 1988, he was enlisted in the Gambia National Army on 2nd January 1989 and attached to the Yundum Barracks. He gave a rundown of his promotion from Lance Corporal, Corporal and 2nd Lieutenant. He said he went to the USA with 2nd Lieutenant Yankuba Touray for a military training course and came back in 1991.

He said he was the Support Weapon Commander until the July 22, 1994, military takeover. He added that he has held the position of military intelligence commander briefly during the era of the NATAG.

He said after serving his nine-year sentence, he fled the country due to the constant threats on his life by Brigadier-General Alagie Martins and a few other people. He said he was in Senegal from the year 2004 to 2008 when he left for the Federal Republic of Germany.

“Alagie Martins was sent to liquidate (kill) me. He even threatened my aunt living in Kafuta that I will be killed,” Sabally adduced.

He will continue today with his testimony about the execution of the captured soldiers and other related matters.

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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10622 Posts

Posted - 26 Apr 2019 :  11:34:09  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote

Basidia M Drammeh
April 24, 2019

Not only is April 24th significant on Gambia's calendar as the day our country became a republic, but it is equally important because it's the day when the former Vice Chairman of the AFPRC and principal architect of the 1994 military takeover, Sanna B Sabally appeared before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) to testify, in relation to his role in the coup that would change the course and trajectory of our nation forever. There has been high anticipation for today's hearing since Lead Counsel Faal raised the bar yesterday by declaring that there would be an important witness today. And he was right.

Bespectacled and dressed in a traditional flowered robe, amid visible security presence, Sabally uttered every single word in defiance and sneering confidence. Sabally told the Commission that he conceived the idea of staging a coup seven months before July 22, when he heard a former BBC Focus on Africa anchor, Robin white, asking about the African country with a foreign army command, According to the former AFPRC #2, the Gambian army was humiliated by the presence of the Nigerian army in the country. Sabally hatched the coup with what he described as closely knitted confidential colleagues, including Yahya Jammeh, who would later become the Chairman of the AFPRC, Edward Signateh, Yankuba Touray and Sadibou Hydara. According to him, Basirou Barrow and Ndure Cham would later opt out.

Sounding like the mastermind of the coup, Sabally, who was loved and loathed in equal measure, staunchly and eloquently defended and justified the coup, referring to the corruption of the Jawara regime and its negligence of the Armed Forces and considered the combination of these factors, among others, as a pretext to overthrow the constitutionally and democratically elected Government.

His narrative about the role of an army in a civilian setting was robustly challenged by Lead Counsel Essa Faal who took on him, emphasizing the illegality and unconstitutionality of the military action, stating that the Army's mandate to defend the sovereignty of the country does not entail the involvement of the military in politics.

What appears so far is that Sabally doesn't regret his involvement in the coup and remains adamant that the Army has a binding duty to change the status quo when a constitutionally installed government fails its citizens. One would expect that Sabally had abandoned his dogma regarding the role of an army but he stuck to his guns.

Sabally, who was generally candid, but has shown no emotions told the Commission that the initial coup plot was foiled on July 21 but it was he who galvanized his comrades to execute the alternative plan which eventually succeeded on the following day. He attributed to their success what he termed as "intelligence failure" on the part of the Jawara regime.

With regards to the November 11 incident, Sabally admitted that the military council had unanimously agreed that the officers suspected of taking over the country should be qualified as "unknown enemy and should be accordingly crushed, which qualified as killing. He trashed the Geneva Conventions regarding war as irrelevant, which apparently has drawn the ire of the soft-spoken TRRC Chairman Dr. Cise who went on to lecture him on those conventions.

Ironically, the very person who oppressed, repressed, intimidated, terrified and traumatized Gambians during his reign of terror and horror is serving as a trauma therapist. Sabally is accused of gross and heinous human violations meted out to certain people. His orderlies were reported to have mercilessly dealt with road users who were perceived to be obstructing his convoy. He is accused of ordering the torturing of senior officers who were detained at Mile 2 Central Prisons. He is accused of murdering the officers accused of an attempted coup on November 11.

While he confessed to committing certain atrocities, he vehemently denied certain accusations or denied knowledge. Sabally also defended the actions taken against senior military officers who were opposed or perceived to be against the coup.

However, Sabally, who would be finally arrested and incarcerated for 9 years at the very prison where he tortured his victims, expressed readiness to engage in reconciliation activities to wholeheartedly apologize and seek the forgiveness of his victims, including the senior officers he had tortured. Sabally equally also owned up to his personal responsibility for the heinous actions.

It's now left to Gambians, particularly the victims, to accept or turn down Sabally's apology. It equally remains unclear what course of action the judicial authorities will take to deal with Sabally.
Reactions from the Gambians on social media fora have varied. While it was generally agreed that Sabally is smart, eloquent and savvy, the overall sentiment is that he should be held accountable to the atrocities he had committed. Nevertheless, due process must be followed and mob justice must be prevented.

When the victimizer becomes the victim
April 25, 2019

Basidia M Drammeh

Sanna Sabally’s testimony took a dramatic turn today, as the former senior AFPRC junta member narrated the agonizing ordeal he endured following his fallout with Yahya Jammeh, arrest and subsequent incarceration at the Mile 2 Central Prison, along with his comrade and former Interior Minister Sadibou Hydara.

According to Sabally’s narrative, his eventual downfall was promoted by policy differences with Yahya Jammeh who was in favour of extending his stay in power, beyond the six months they have initially agreed upon before the military takeover.

Unlike his testimony yesterday, Sabally was visibly emotional and broke down in tears on several occasions, as he painstakingly recollected the brutal torture suffered at the hands of his tormentors who were acting on the orders of Jammeh. The names of Alhagi Martin and co were adversely mentioned on several occasions by Sabally, hence it’s widely believed that those suspects would be brought to the commission to give their side of the story.

In graphic details with his cheek mostly rested on his fists, Sabally told the commission about multiple torture sessions, which involved, among others, waterboarding, hanging, G-sting and merciless beating.

Meanwhile, Sabally debunked the official narrative for Hydara’s death, noting that the latter died in his hands in prison, as a result of brutal torture.

Sabally, who voluntarily chose to leave Dakar to give his testimony, pledged that he would act differently because he is now a mature person, for he was only 27 when he summarily executed the officers on November 11.

The former Vice Chairman of the AFPRC military junta affirmed that the removal of Yahya Jammeh from power was a collective effort. Sabally went on to reveal that he was involved in efforts to boot Jammeh from power and applauded whom he described as “underground activists”, singling out Sulayman Ndow, Ebrima Sillah and Hamat Bah, the current Information and Tourism Ministers respectively.

In passionate closing remarks, Sabally profusely apologized to the living victims and families of the dead victims, noting that: “Let’s not let a dark past cloud a bright future.” As a trauma specialist, he expressed readiness to treat traumatized victims to no cost.

Sabally appealed to his junta members including Yahya Jammeh, Edward Signateh and Yankuba Tourary to come forward and face the truth at the Commission.

Lead Counsel Essa Faal implored the general public to treat Sabally as a human being and assured that the law will take its due course.

Sabally was heartily congratulated by the members for the commission, including the Chairman who repeatedly used the word “candour” to characterize Sabally’s truthfulness.

Source: FB

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Posted - 28 Apr 2019 :  09:39:03  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Understanding the Meaning of Sanna Sabally’s Testimony
By Madi Jobarteh

To err and then to stand up to declare one’s error is indeed a mark of courage and leadership in itself. For that matter Sanna’s testimony is positive. By his testimony he has also enhanced the credibility and visibility of the TRRC. Thirdly his testimony will serve to promote truth telling by future witnesses hence limit the incidence of lying because in his testimony he did not leave anything behind.

However, the courage of a perpetrator to own up to his atrocities must not be confused with courage in which an individual would stand up to defend sacred principles and noble causes even in the face of grave danger to his life. The atrocities Sanna committed as Vice Chair were not meant to uphold sacred principles or defend a noble cause. Rather those violations were meant to settle scores and to eliminate those he perceived to disagree or threaten his position for which he classified them as enemies.

Let us remember that we will never hear directly from the late Basirou Barrow, Dot Faal, Gibril Saye among others about their side of the story of November 11. It could be that their reasons and the events that unfolded were totally different from what Sanna Sabally has told the TRRC. Hence Sanna’s story is the story of the victor and typically the hunter will always glorify himself over the hunted. As Vice Chair Sanna had the option to apply the rule of law or due process to ensure that arbitrariness and impunity did not take root in the society! He failed to do that and therefore what he himself came to suffer was indeed his own handiwork.

Therefor the AFPRC regime committed international crimes, i.e. crimes against humanity such as murder, torture and grave violations of the dignity of the human person. These crimes including rape, enslavement, forced labour and grave forms of sexual violence are prohibited by international law. No human being must be subjected to these violations under any circumstances and for any reason regardless. International law further requires that all states prevent the commission of these crimes within their territory and anywhere else in the world and further take active stand to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book wherever they are.

As a government the AFPRC is obliged by both the Gambia Constitution and international law to prevent murder, torture, sexual violence among other crimes. Hence as Vice Chair Sanna Sabally had legal and political obligation to ensure that such crimes were not committed in the Gambia, i.e. neither by himself nor by officers under his command. Sanna therefore has committed international crimes just as the rest of his junta colleagues and their soldiers who participated in carrying our extra-judicial executions, torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment.

From this perspective it would appear therefore that Sanna knew the gravity of his actions and therefore properly advised himself to show up before the TRRC to speak the truth and take responsible for his actions and inactions. This is commendable but it is more in his own interest than anyone else because as a violator of international law there would be little space, if any for Sanna to have escape if he decided to run away or lie. Sooner or later the world will get at him.

His decision therefore to face the TRRC and speak the truth helps to reconcile himself with his past and therefore give him relief. Above all his testimony could serve to hugely mitigate the consequences of his actions on himself because of his amazing cooperation and truthfulness. Hence by his testimony Sanna has also created an enabling environment for his co-perpetrators to also have the courage and wisdom to come forward to confess and seek apology from their victims and the nation.

But it will be misplaced for one to jump to conclusion that therefore Sanna is a hero or should be forgiven just because his testimony is seen to be truthful or honest. This would mean that one has forgotten that in the first instance Sanna was a state agent at the highest level who had the legal obligation to uphold the rule of law, protect human rights and prevent abuse of power. There is no excuse for him to abandon this obligation. His claim that he was only 27 years is meaningless since he knew his age then, yet he decided to conduct a coup and lead a government!

Hence after he deliberately damaged these legal and political obligations one must not therefore merely be carried by his eloquence to therefore exonerate or celebrate him. The issue should not be how a person of responsibility failed his responsibility in the first place only to come back to beautifully explain how he failed in his responsibility and therefore we get carried by the explanation. For example, an armed robber who faces the police in a fierce gunfight during robbery and eventually escapes would indeed give a rather dramatic and brave story about how he stood his ground. However, his act of robbery in the first place cannot be conceived as bravery!

The ordeal that Sanna himself went through is a testimony of the clear and direct danger his leadership created and nurtured. He was severely tortured simply because he had created in the first place the situation for torture to prevail in the country. Thus, much as I sincerely sympathise with his ordeal for which his torturers must also face justice, I will not however ignore the fact that Sanna, as the Vice Chair of AFPRC set the precedence of what he became a victim. As he himself said what goes around comes around!

Sanna has spoken well and took full responsibility for his actions which in itself is a show of responsibility. I hope his other three surviving co-perpetrators, Yaya Jammeh, Edward Singhateh and Yankuba Touray will also advise themselves in their own best interest to face the TRRC and narrate truthfully how they reneged on their legal and political obligations as state agents. Having been mentioned adversely multiple times for the most gruesome crimes it is clear that these individuals cannot escape justice sooner or later. Hence the earlier they come out to state their roles and actions truthfully the better for them in many ways.

Facing the TRRC has only one option for witnesses which is to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. This is why witnesses swear on the holy books and it is criminal offence to lie under oath. The right to the truth is an inalienable right of victims and their families first and foremost. And no one has more responsibility than the State and witnesses to divulge the truth!

As citizens we must not react to witnesses and their testimonies as if it is drama or allow emotions to take the best of us. We must bear in mind that we have the TRRC in the first place because there were massive human rights violations committed by perpetrators who have, in the first place moral, legal and political obligations of the highest order to protect human rights and adhere to the rule of law. Yet these duty bearers failed woefully. Hence if they should come before the TRRC to narrate their story, we must not in any way therefore allow their eloquence, truthfulness, experiences and emotions to overwhelm us to the point that we ignore or downplay their outrageous actions in the first place.

Let us remember that as perpetrators testify their victims are already dead while surviving victims are in pain and the society as a whole has been severely damaged.

For the Gambia Our Homeland

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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