Mafugie Sonko, a former gendarmerie who later became a member of the Gambia National Army, has suggested before the Truth Commission probing the human rights violations of the former dictator that orders to kill close to two dozen soldiers on November 11, 1994, have come from Yahya Jammeh.
Sonko was implicated in the planned coup though he was a junior soldier at the time. He was arrested alongside his senior men such as Lt. Abdoulie Faal and Lt. Basiru Barrow.
The soldiers had organized a counter coup to dethrone Jammeh and his colleagues who have overthrown a democratically elected Government of Dawda Kairaba Jawara on July 22, 1994.
According to various testimonies before the Commission, the counter coup was conceived by several soldiers who were disgusted at the deteriorating human rights situation in the country and the corruption of the junta leaders whose promises were that they have come to end corruption.
But the junta was aware of the counter coup in advance and attacked the defenseless soldiers capturing them. Sonko said they were taken to Mile 2 from Yundum where they were ambushed on their way from Fajara.
The soldiers, according to Sonko were tortured and briefly jailed at Mile 2. He said while they were at Mile 2, Sanna Sabally has asked Peter Singhateh to wait behind while he went with Edward Singhateh and Sadibu Hydara to take instructions from Jammeh on the next step to take.
According to Sonko, when Sanna came back his statement to Peter was that “let’s take them to Fajara where we are going to kill them”.
“Sanna came and told them “bring them out and let’s take them to Fajara where we are going to kill them”… Then they took us out in two separate vehicles and took us to Fajara,” said Sonko.
This is the second witness testimony before the Commission that ties former dictator to the November 11 executions.
Also his former chief of staff, Demba Njie, told the Commission last month that he overheard Jammeh on the night of November 11 saying over the phone “kill them all, the ring leaders”.
Sonko described the horrible conditions under which Lt. Abdoulie Faal was after severe torture in the hands of the soldiers before he was executed.
Sonko continues testimony on Tuesday.
First female witness
Meanwhile, the Commission has heard its first female witness since its hearing began on January 7, 2019.
Kaddy Camara has appeared to testify about the torture her husband suffered in the hands of the junta after the coup.
Camara, wife of former politician Alhagie Mamadi Sabally said her late husband had lost his manhood after he was allegedly tortured and castrated in detention by late former National Intelligence Agency director Daba Marena and ex-police chief, F.R.I Jammeh.
“His legs, faces and all parts of body were swollen. He was also unable to talk for a week due to pain. He started vomiting this dark blood,” Camara said.
Alhajie Mamadi was arrested by the police following the 1994 military coup after his in-law and former Vice President, Saihou Sabally fled the country for exile.
Alhajie Mamadi was arrested in Farafeni and the message was transmitted to the family by his daughter, Joko.