By Mustapha Jallow
An ex-soldier purporting to be an eye witness has told Foroyaa that 13 senior soldiers were summarily executed and buried in a trench at the Yundum Barracks on 11 November 1994.
Staff Sergeant Ibrima Faati, a former staff sergeant of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), who said he was detained at the NIA for some weeks in 2001 was accompanied by Mama Touray and two others.
The ex- soldier disclosed that a dispute between the slain soldiers and the junta emanated from a ‘pay difference’ between soldiers of Yundum Barracks and those of the State Guard Battalion who, he said, received a pay rise of 400 dalasis on top of their salaries as allowance.
He said this was seen as discriminatory and resulted in a gun battle on that night of November 11 which led to a foiled coup plot.
“They were maimed, butchered and buried in the Barracks. Some of them before they got killed, told soldiers who were present to inform their family members about it so that they can do a charity for them. Second Lt. Faal was gunned several times but he did not die and they buried him alive’’ he said.
The soldiers whom he alleged were murdered are: Lieutenant Basiru Barrow, Lieutenant Gibril Saye, Second Lieutenant Bakary Manneh, Second Lieutenant Abdoulie Faal alias dot Faal, Second Lieutenant Lamin Darboe, Second Lieutenant Buba Jammeh, Officer Cadet Amadou Sillah, Staff Sergeant Abdoulie Bah, Sergeant E M Ceesay, Sergeant Basiru Camara, Sergeant Fafa Nyang, Lance Corporal Fafa Jobe. He could not remember the last officer’s name but that the entire family members of the victims are demanding for justice to be done for their loved ones.
He further said that he and family members of these victims are appealing to the new government of President Adama Barrow to invite forensic experts in order to exhume the bodies that were buried at the Barracks for proper DNA test so that they can be identified and given a proper burial. “There is lot of disappearances and deaths as we all know what happened on November 11,” the St sgt added.
The President has referred to the setting up of a truth and reconciliation commission and such a case may suit it.