Monday, March 27

Weapons are intact to carry out the coup – witness quotes coup leader

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The accused persons – Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera, Sergeant Gibril Darboe, Corporal Ebrima Sannoh, Corporal Omar Njie and Police Sub-inspector Fabakary Jawara – are standing trial on charges of treason, concealment of treason and incitement to mutiny.

Testifying further, Captain Mamad Jobe said: “He told me that from there [Jobe’s house] he would be going to Farafenni to meet Sergeant Komma and from there he would come back to my house. He said, ‘Oga, I am going’, and I told him, ‘Whatever happens keep me posted’.”

“The whole night I couldn’t sleep. When I woke up in the morning, knowing that national threat is before you, you have national obligation towards it, and according to the Gambia Armed Forces Act, if such is before you, you have to inform your superiors. So, I decided to call Major Lamin Njie. I told him this soldier came to me last night and this was what he told me; I am not a party to it,” he said.

The witness said he was told by Major Lamin Njie to ascertain the “info” pending Sanna Fadera’s visit to Farafenni, but he did not hear from Sanna until 7th December.

“When I called him on the 7th to confirm whether he was able to meet Sergeant Komma, he told me he did not but was able to communicate with him. On the 11th of December, I called Sergeant Komma to confirm his meeting with Sanna Fadera,” Jobe told the rapt court.

“Sergeant Komma told me he didn’t meet with Sanna Fadera but was able to communicate with him on phone. Sergeant Komma asked me about the issue. I told him Sanna came to my house and said he wanted to salvage the country; he wanted us to overthrow the government.

Sergeant Komma told me that wherever I saw Sanna I should stab him. “How many years of service and just one day someone wants to mess me up!’ he said. I told Sergeant Komma to have patience, stabbing him with a knife will be a case on top of a case.”

The witness testified further: “I told him I was working with a senior officer to ensure the situation was de-escalated. Sergeant Komma also advised me to take caution and I should get out of it completely. I told Sergeant Komma that this was a threat to national security and we should make sure we curb the threat.

“From there, I called Major Njie (alias Angola). I told him I had spoken to Sanna Fadera and I had also spoken to Sergeant Dawda Komma and they have had communication. I told him the threat was still hanging. Major Lamin Njie summoned the first Provost marshal, Major Alagie Njie.

“On the 12th of December, we assembled at Major Lamin Njie’s compound in Nema Su. I was the first to arrive, seconded by the Provost Marshall. The military intelligence officer who was supposed to come could not because he said he did not have fuel. When the subject matter started, a call was made to Captain Modou Wally and was told he must come because the subject matter was very important. Major Lamin Njie told him he would give him money to buy fuel.

“After sometime, Captain Modou Wally was also in. Now it was Major Lamin Njie, Major Modou Njie (Provost Marshall) and Captain Modou Wally and myself. We told the Provost marshal what transpired between me and Sanna at my house. From there, I was instructed to call him, Sanna. When I called him, the phone rang but he did not pick up the call.

“After few seconds, then Sanna Fadera called back and I was instructed by Major Lamin Njie to put it on loud speaker.”

Capatain Jobe said further that he told Sanna Fadera that since he told him about the planning of a coup, he had not been sleeping as what was in his head was too much. He said he was told by Sanna not to worry.

“I am currently in Bujinga giving charity in connection with the plan to overthrow and I will also be heading to Mali,” Jobe quoted Sanneh, saying: “From there I told him: ‘Are you going to apply for pass?’ This is because in the military, you need a pass to leave the country. He told me that the last time, he went without applying for a pass but this time he was advised by someone to apply.

“So captain Wally typed on phone for me to ask him the type of weapon he was going to use to overthrow. He said all the weapons were intact and let us not think about that. Then Major Lamin Njie posed a question of who were the officers involved.

“Then I said to Sanna: ‘since you proposed this to me, it is like I am the only one. Who are the officers involved?’ He said: ‘Oga, do not worry. This is a telephone conversation. Do you know our class captain, Ebrima Baldeh?’ I said ‘yes’. He said, ‘He is the one sealing our information, but when I come to your house on Sunday, I will explain everything to you’.”

The witness also stated that he was told by Sanna that he was their CPU, adding that at that juncture, Major Lamin Njie said that Sanna should be arrested. However, he noted further that Major Alhagie Njie tasked him to make sure that he recorded Sanna Fadera, since he was coming to his house and Captain Modou Wally. Military intelligence was tasked with monitoring Sanna’s activities. 

“Then Captain Modou Wally said this information was put to him 10 to 11 months ago. From that moment we dispersed,” witness Captain Jobe told the court.

“On the 15th of December, I called Captain Modou Wally. I told him we are joking about a threat. I told him that ‘Fadera should be called in and asked, so that we can de-escalate the situation.’

“I told him ‘if that is not done, I myself will go to any military police or military intelligence office and report because the act is unbecoming of a soldier. I cannot wait and see this act going, just to say that I was in the picture. I have a family’.”

“Captain Modou Wally concurred with me and said that speed was needed in the matter. Later in the day, Major Lamin Njie asked me to report to the office of the Provost Marshal, Major Alhagie Njie, on the following day. That is the Defence Headquarters.”

The witness continued: “When I reported I was there with Captain Modou Wally and Provost Marshal. Major Alhagie Njie relayed the matter to the deputy Chief of Defence Staff. From there, we were informed that the deputy CDS was not around.

The witness testified further that from there they concluded to carry out with his initial plan of recording Sanna on Sunday, when he (Sanna) would be visiting him at his house.

He added that he requested for a side rifle from the Provost marshal, since the task he was given was risky, but the request was not granted.

“I was told: ‘Is it without a side arm, you cannot do the task?’ I told them I could do anything for my country. Even if I would go and die, I would do it as far as it was for The Gambia. From there I went with the same people to Fajara Barracks. When we reached Fajara, I was given D100 as my fare to come back on Monday.

“The same day in the evening, I was called by our director of military intelligence, Major Landing Tamba. He said he spoke with Modou Wally, military intelligence, and that I should go on with the task at hand, to record Sanna Fadera. I agreed and still put the issue of the side arm. He told me, ‘Is it that without side arm you are not going to do the task?’ I told him I would do it; I would sacrifice my life for the country. This is what I signed for.”

Captain Jobe added that on Sunday, in the evening, director of military intelligence, Major Landing Tamba called him and asked whether he was able to get the recording of Sanna Fadera, adding that he responded that Sana did not call and neither appeared at my house.

“The following day, Monday, 19th of December, I was supposed to go to school at the university. When I was at the university, I could not absorb anything in class because I was told by Sanna that he would be coming on Sunday.

“From there, I initiated a call to a friend who works at the State Intelligence Service (SIS) called Saidou Bah.”

Captain Jobe relayed to the court that he explained what transpired between him and Sanna Fadera and his meeting with the Provost marshal.

He said Saidou assured him that immediate action would be taken about the matter.

“The following day, 28th December, Captain Modou Wally called me and told me: ‘Target secured’. He told me Sanna Fadera was arrested. Immediately I was notified, I left the university and went straight to Major Lamin Njie’s compound at Nema Su,” the witness further explained.

“When I was at Major Lamin Njie’s compound, a call came through and it was a bit unpleasant, that I was the one that informed the SIS. Then I responded that that was not an offence because we should all work together to combat threats to national security. At that time, I was panicked and afraid. I did not know who was who and what was happening.”

He said that when Saidou Bah, the SIS personnel he informed about his encounter with Sana Fadera, called the State Guard commander, the latter told him: ‘You have done what is expected. Officers have to be loyal to the nation’. Later on, I was called by a joint investigative panel and asked to prepare a report. I was called on Friday and told I had to come here (the High Court of The Gambia) and explain my own side of the story.”

The trial continues.

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