By Yankuba Jallow & Makutu Manneh
Modou Lamin Bah, an erstwhile private soldier has told the TRRC that Alagie Kanyi is unreliable because he cannot be predicted.
Bah was an orderly to ex-Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) Baboucar Jatta immediately after the coup and held this position for about 2 years.
“Kanyi in those days was a crazy guy because no one could predict him,” the witness said.
He indicated that Kanyi was part of the 11th November 1994 coup plot ,but betrayed the plotters.
“Alagie Kanyi was part of the November 11 coup plotting. We were surprised that he made a u-turn in the morning of 11thNovember 1994,” the witness said.
Modou Lamin Bah said he was born on the 5th May 1968 in Bureng Village. After completing his basic military training in 1984-1988, he was posted at Kartong under the Military Police and later deployed to Yundum Barracks under the Regimental Police (RP) which was a unit responsible for discipline within the Barracks. He said he was in this unit until the year 1992 when the NATAG group arrived.
He said prior to the arrival of the Nigerians, the Army was terrible in terms of salaries and accommodation was not adequate. They would have preferred having individual accommodation; adding that diseases could easily be transferred because of congestion in the dormitory.
He told the Commission that after soldiers returned from their peacekeeping mission (the first ECOMOG Contingent), they held demonstrations in demand of their dues, adding that they converged at the Quick Resistance Force, but couldn’t meet Colonel Ndow Njie. He said the soldiers on demonstration proceeded to Banjul but the ring leaders were discharged from the army.
According to him, the second contingent from the same country also held demonstration at the QRF but upon arrival at the Denton Bridge, they were stopped by Captain Samsideen Sarr who took them to Mile II.
He said as an orderly to Lt Colonel Baboucar Jatta, he was responsible for all his incoming and outgoing files; adding that the presence of the Nigerians was helpful to them because they addressed welfare of Soldiers. He said they were provided with house and transport allowances. He said there were also frequent trainings and they provided literacy classes within the camp where soldiers were taught how to write.
He said he was made the orderly to Lt. Odou of the NATAG.
Singhateh later told him that they were on a Coup and that they would like him to be providing him with information as he was close to ‘a big man’.
“I was strong headed and very terrible,” the witness described himself.
He said the intention of July 22, 1994, coup was to overthrow the government and compensate each soldier. He said the second option was in case the first one fails, they would execute all senior men and also loot the Central Bank of The Gambia and flee the country.
“The plan was if the President is inspecting the parade, then the Ministers would be arrested including the President,” the witness said.
On the 21 July 1994, he said when Yahya Jammeh got to the Airport, Lt Colonel Odou told him that he was not supposed to be there, as he was only supposed to send his men.
“Jammeh’s pistol was later seized from him by Lt. Odou,” the witness adduced.
Bah said: “Yahya Jammeh visited Lt. Colonel Odou and told him that it has failed, but Odou responded to him they wouldn’t allow that thing to happen at the Airport. However, he (Odou) told Jammeh to go for Jawara at his house, giving that the following day the American frigate was coming.” Bah said he later dropped Lt. Colonel Odou at Banjulinding and he went back to the camp having good time by drinking alcohol, smoking cannabis etc.
He added: “Almamo Manneh was tasked to break the armory while Basirou Camara was supposed to snatch the keys of the army vehicles.”
He further testified that the armoury was broken well before Sheriff Gomez arrived. He said after the armoury was broken, he took a Life Machine Gun (LMG) with 100 rounds of ammunition.
“Jammeh collected a calabash of concoction and drank it and applied some on his body and subsequently passed it to others, namely Edward Singhateh, Sanna Sabally, Sadibou Hydra and they all applied it on their bodies,” the witness explained.
He said upon arrival at Banjulinding Station, the Police there were arrested and detained under the supervision of a soldier, adding they went to the Abuko Arch Station; where they were made to understand that International calls were shut down.
“Masanneh Jawara, Sanna Sabally, Edward Singhateh and Yahya Jammeh led a group each,” the witness detailed.
He said the National Security Services officers that were on training were arrested and taken to Yundum Barracks.
“I remained in the Yundum Barracks till when Babucarr Jatta was appointed as CDS, he requested for me to be his orderly,” the witness said.
He said the promise that was given to the soldiers before the coup was that they will be adequately compensated after a successful coup. He added that he attended a meeting in the Orchard with Basirou Camara, Ansou Sonko, Alagie Kanyi and one Bojang.
He explained their meeting was centred on their welfare as promised by the council, adding that they agreed among themselves to remove the council.
“I see serving CDS Jatta as a punishment based,” the witness said.
On the 11th November
According to him, Alagie Kanyi and Ebrima Ceesay came to his residence at the Yundum Barracks and informed him that he was been ordered to report to the Camp. He said Kanyi and Ceesay insisted that he should go with them.
He explained that when Kanyi and Ceesay left, he went to CDS Jatta’s residence and informed him about the happenings in the camp. He said he evacuated his wife out of the Barracks. He detailed that he spent the whole night in his room sleeping.
He told the Commission that in the morning of the 11thNovember 1994, he went to the camp and met Sanna Sabally reading from a list having names of persons to be killed immediately by any soldiers who set their eyes on them.
He said thereafter, Captain Sanna Sabally ordered for Sergeant Fafa Nyang to be brought to him. He added that it was Alagie Kanyi who went for Nyang and brought him.
He said Fafa Nyang was shot by Captain Edward Singhatey and Lamin Colley.
“Lamin Colley’s shooting was not accidental. I deny that, Colley lied to the Commission to run away from responsibility. He was part of the group where Edward Singhatey and his men were,” he revealed.
Buba Jammeh alias Kanilai and Alagie Kanyi participated in the burial of soldiers that were killed at Lance Corporal Bojang’s firing range.
Follow tomorrow’s edition of Foroyaa for the rest of the story