By Yankuba Jallow & Kemeseng Sanneh
Captain Mamat Jobe of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), on Tuesday explained to the high court how he divulged information regarding the December 2022 alleged foiled coup, to his superiors.
The accused persons are (Lance Corporal) Sanna Fadera, (Sergeant) Gibril Darboe, (Corporal) Ebrima Sannoh, (Corporal) Omar Njie, and (Sub-Inspector) Fabakary Jawara. The charges are two counts of treason, two counts of concealment of treason and incitement to mutiny.
Jobe, who was enlisted in GAF in 2008, said he did basic military training together with Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera. He said he was in Türkiye together with Sergeant Gibril Darboe while he served in the Fajara Barracks together with Corporal Ebrima Sannoh.
Captain Jobe said he on the 26th of November 2022 at about 10 am he received a call from Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera who proposed to visit him at his residence in Farato around 7 pm. The military officer said Fadera only came after 11 pm, adding Fadera found his wife and children already asleep.
“He (Sanna Fadera) told me, Oga, my purpose of coming here is to salvage the country,” Jobe said, adding, “I told him what do you mean and he (Sanna Fadera) told me he wants to overthrow the Government.”
Jobe, as an officer, said he informed Sanna Fadera that he should desist from embarking on participating in such because it is not appropriate for a soldier to embark on such motives.
During the discussion, Jobe said Sanna Fadera produced a document which was the operational plan of the coup.
“As I was reading through the operational plan, I was trembling, and I told him you cannot do this. It is a serious offence,” Jobe said.
Jobe said in the plan he saw that the coup plotters wanted to use battalions in their plan and Sanna Fadera identified himself as the ring leader. He added that he told Sanna Fadera that he is attending classes at the University of the Gambia and he would not participate in anything that will derail his education. He explained that he asked Sanna Fadera the question of how he will feel after going against the verdict of the people. He explained further that he told Sanna about the repercussion of the coup which may result in the deaths of innocent civilians and collateral damages. He said Sanna took a pen and began noting some of the points he was making.
Captain Jobe said Sanna Fadera informed him that he was going to Farafenni to meet one Sergeant Dawda Comma to discuss the coup plan with him and will come back to him upon return from the trip. He said he could not sleep after Sanna Fadera left because it was a threat to national security.
Jobe testified that he reported the matter to his superior, one Major Lamin Njie alias Angola. He said he did so because it was his obligation to report any threat to national security to a judge or a superior as provided in the GAF Act.
He testified that Major Njie asked him to ascertain the formation of the coup plotters. He said he did not hear from Sanna Fadera for a while and he decided to call the alleged coup plotter. He explained that Sanna Fadera told him that he did not go to Farefenni but he was able to communicate with Sergeant Comma over the phone. Jobe said he called Sergeant Comma over the phone who informed him that Sanna Fadera had called him and informed him that he wanted to overthrow the Gambia Government.
“Sergeant Comma told me anywhere he sees Sanna Fadera he will fight him and anywhere he sees him he will stab him (Sanna Fadera),” Jobe said.
He said Sergeant Comma said Sanna Fadera wanted to shatter his track record in the army and he would not allow anyone to destroy his work in the army. He added that after the conversation with both Sanna Fadera and Sergeant Comma he reported to Major Lamin Njie about their chat.
He said Major Lamin Njie summoned a meeting with First Provost Marshal Major Alagie Njie, Captain Modou Wally at his residence in Nema-su. He explained that during their meeting they agreed to use him (Captain Jobe) to call Sanna Fadera and put the phone on loudspeaker. Jobe said he called Fadera who did not pick up the call but returned the call. He explained that Fadera told him that “everything was under control” and he was at the time in Bujinga (Foni) giving out charity. He said Sanna Fadera said from Bujinga he will proceed to Mali, adding Sanna Fadera told him that on his first visit to Mali, he did not obtain a pass to leave the country. Jobe said soldiers are required to obtain a pass before leaving the country but Sanna Fadera told him he left without a pass on the previous trip. He said he asked Fadera about the weaponry to be used in the coup and he answered by telling him that the weapons were intact. He added when he asked about the officers involved in the coup plot Sanna Fadera mentioned one Ebrima Baldeh of the Military Intelligence, who is shielding their information.
After the call, Captain Jobe said he was tasked by his superiors to get a record of Sanna Fadera who was supposed to come to his house on Sunday, 18th December 2022 while Captain Modou Wally was tasked to monitor the movement of Sanna Fadera.
Jobe said on the 15th of December 2022 he called Captain Wally with the information that he must take steps to de-escalate the situation because Sanna Fadera and his colleagues already had their last meeting. Jobe said he promised to go to the military police unit to make a report and demand the arrest of Sanna Fadera.
On the 16th of December, he said he went to the Defence Headquarters to meet Provost Marshal Captain Alagie Njie and Major Modou Wally to relate the information to the Deputy Chief of Defense Staff, but their plan failed since the Deputy CDS had travelled outside the country. He said he went home and got a call from the Director of Military Intelligence Major Landing Tamba who asked him to continue with the earlier task assigned to him – which was to get the recording of Sanna Fadera. He said on the 18th of December Major Tamba called again to enquire as to whether he was able to get the recording of Sanna Fadera and he informed the army major that Sanna Fadera did not come to his house.
Jobe said he was not comfortable because he was not sure what Sanna Fadera was planning and he wanted an immediate solution to the situation because it was a threat to national security. In this regard, Jobe said he called one NIA operative Saidou Bah and told him what was happening. On the following day, Sanna Fadera was arrested.
Lawyer Lamin S. Camara for Sanna Fadera commenced his cross-examination of Captain Jobe. Read subsequent publications of Foroyaa for details of the cross-examination.