The national security adviser to President Adama Barrow, Momodou Badgie, and former chief of defence staff, Colonel Babucarr Jatta, were present while soldiers were being executed on November 11, 1994, witness claims before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission on Thursday.
The witness however fell short of explaining what role, if any, Jatta and Badgie may have played on the day of the execution.
Badgie is currently leading the security sector reforms agenda of the Gambia as the country moves from its dictatorship past.
About 20 or more soldiers were executed on November 11 who were accused by the Junta of organizing a coup.
However, a protected witness before the Commission on Thursday said there was never a coup.
The witness said there was disgruntlement in the army because of the perceived betrayal of the agenda of the coup by the Junta.
He said at the time of the coup there was a verbal agreement among soldiers on reforms to do when they take over such as salary increment and improved welfare for soldiers.
Also part of the agreement was to return to the barracks after three months, betrayal of which caused “low morale in the army”.
“As a result of this disgruntlement, the Council was uncomfortable and decided to make a move on November 11,” the witness said.
Among the people he said who came to reportedly execute soldiers were Edward Singhateh, Sanna Sabally, Yankuba Touray and Sadibu Hydara. All those soldiers came from the State House command.
“The army has never suffered a casualty of that caliber… A lot of soldiers, about 20 plus, were executed… I learned that they were executed at different places…They were lined up and shot one by one,” said the witness.
Jammeh’s presidency a fluke
The witness said there was never a leader of the coup from whom all the soldiers on July 22 were taking commands.
He said but the proposed person to become the chairman of the Council after the takeover was Basiru Barrow.
But Barrow’s absence due to unidentified “sickness” left a vacuum that was later filed by Yahya Jammeh who was the most senior among the coup plotters.
Edward who was selected because of Barrow’s absence by most soldiers present at State House had to later give way for Jammeh because of rank.
He said at the time Jammeh, alias Kanlai then, was not known in the army and most soldiers mistaken him for one Yahya Jammeh, a football player on the team of the Gambia National Army.
The witness said Yankuba Touray only came to be part of the Council after the takeover. He said in anticipation of an attack from the American soldiers who were behind State House in a naval ship at the time, they ordered for reinforcement from Farafenni.
One of the leaders of the team was Touray who was later offered a place in the Council.
The witness would not though explain what the Junta did to him though by his explanation, it appears he or she was part of the coup but later arrested.
He or she feared if he or she explains the ordeal, his or her identification would have been easier.
Meanwhile, the witness said there was no plans by the military what they will do after the coup had happened.
The witness also rubbished claims by former captain Amadou Suwareh that he had commanded the soldiers after they found him at the Denton Bridge.
Suwareh claimed he joined the army after they agreed to his condition of leading them into Banjul to avoid casualty.
But the witness said those claims are “ridiculous”.