By Landing Ceesay
Sergeant Karamo Jatta, a military officer of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), testified before Justice Basiru B.V.P. Mahoney of the High Court in the trial of alleged coup plotters. In his testimony, Jatta said that he recorded a telephone conversation with Sanna Fadera, the first accused, about the alleged coup.
“The phone that I was using previously was set on automatic call record. So, most of the communication I did with Sanna Fadera pertaining to this coup was automatically recorded and saved on my phone. I handed over the phone to the investigation team,” he told the court.
Sergeant Jatta testified that during a meeting about the alleged coup, he asked the 1st accused, Sanna Fadera, where the soldiers coming from other battalions would get their arms and ammunition. Fadera told him that they would use the arms and ammunition that had been intended for use in the December 30th attack but had not been used in that coup attempt as planned.
Defense attorney K. Jallow objected to the statement, arguing that it was hearsay and based on what the witness heard from the accused person, not on what he himself saw or heard. But the objection of Lawyer K. Jallow was overruled by the presiding Judge, Justice Mahoney.
Sergeant Jatta continued his testimony, stating that the 1st accused told him that the coup was supposed to take place in December 2022, but at the latest in January 2023. Fadera also told him that he was waiting for a marabout in Mali to give him the green light before they would launch the coup.
Sergeant Jatta testified that Sanna Fadera told him that they would have a one-year transition period before handing over the government to civilians. Fadera said that this was the agreement he had made with the civilians.
The state counsel asked Sergeant Jatta why he used the word “they” and not “we.” Jatta replied that he knew he would not be part of the coup because it was illegal.
When asked why he did not report the matter sooner, Jatta said he reported it to his superiors on December 12, 2023.
Sergeant Karamo Jatta is testifying in a treason trial against five people, including four members of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) and one member of the Gambia Police Force (GPF).
The four soldiers are Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera, Private Officer Gibril Darboe, Corporal Ebrima Sannoh, and Corporal Omar Njie. The police officer is Fabakary Jawara.
The five defendants are accused of attempting to overthrow the government of The Gambia. They have been charged with five counts, including treason,
When asked about the phone numbers that the 1st accused called him, Sergeant Jatta said he could not remember the numbers, but he knew they were two Africell lines.
Jatta said he could only remember his own phone number, which was with the investigators.
When asked if he could recognize the purported operational plan if he was shown it, Jatta said yes.
The document was shown to him, and he identified it as the purported operational plan that the 1st accused person showed him in Farafenni.
Sergeant Jatta was asked if he would recognize the phone, he used to take a picture of the purported operational plan. He said yes.
The phone was handed to him, and he turned it on. He was then asked to show the court the picture of the purported operational plan on the phone.
Jatta scrolled through the phone’s photos and showed the court and defense counsels a picture of the purported operational plan.
He was then asked if the picture on his phone was the same as the one that was presented to the court. He said yes.
The printout of the telephone conversations was then shown to Jatta for identification. He identified it as being a printout of his telephone conversations with the 1st accused person.