By Yankuba Jallow
Pa Ousman Sanneh, said the late Chief of Defense Staff Ndure Cham was tortured by his colleague ‘Junglers’ while he was captured and detained in Tanji.
Testifying before the TRRC on Tuesday, Sanneh admitted being a member of the ‘Junglers’, a hit squad for Yahya Jammeh. He said he joined the Patrol Team in 2013 until the political impasse.
He said Ndure Cham was tortured because it was evident on his face which was swollen. He said anytime he talked to Ndure Cham, he will complain about ‘the tall man’ Sulayman Sambou who always beat him while he was under detention.
“Anytime I come there (where Ndure Cham was detained) in the morning, I will see his face swollen,” the witness said.
Arrest and Killing of Colonel Ndure Cham
He said he was called and briefed by Nuha Badjie that they have an operation to carry out in Farafenni. In Farafenni, he said Nuha Badjie called Musa Johnson, an ex-orderly to Ndure Cham who came to join the troop and they went together to the garden where Cham was believed to be hiding. Sanneh testified that Musa Johnson was in communication with Ndure Cham telling him that he was coming to the garden. When they were about 100 metres from the garden, the witness said they asked Johnson to stay in the vehicle as they surrounded the garden and captured Ndure Cham. He said after capturing him, they detained Ndure Cham at the NIA Complex in Tanji for two weeks. The witness said he was among those who guarded the cell where Ndure Cham was detained and as a Warrant Officer, he was the most senior.
He said while Ndure Cham was detained, General Saul Badjie came together with Yankuba Badjie an ex-Director General of the NIA and Sheikh Omar Jeng an ex-Director of Operations. He said Ndure Cham was later taken away from the cell and that was the last time he saw him.
“Do you ask about his whereabouts?” Essa M. Faal asked.
The witness said the principle of ‘junglers’ is “you don’t ask about operations you did not participate.”
About the ‘Junglers’
The witness said this group of soldiers were soldiers with a difference and they were responsible for border patrol. He said before joining, he knew about the ‘junglers’ and their operation; that they were a killer squad for Yahya Jammeh.
He said he joined them in 2013 and he was taken for a familiarization tour by Lieutenant-Colonel Nuha Badjie. He said Nuha Badjie was answerable to Bora Colley who was answerable to General Saul Badjie who was answerable to the ex-President, Yahya Jammeh.
Killing of Baba Jobe
He said he was called by Michael Jatta, who was the operations commander of the ‘Junglers’ who asked them to meet him at Arch 22 for an operation that they were supposed to execute. He added that he came late for the operation while his colleagues were already briefed in his absence. He said he went through the main gate of the private ward of the hospital with Omar Jallow (alias Oya).
He said Omar Jallow was the one who directed them to where Baba Jobe was lying in the ward. He said as he was going with Omar Jallow inside the ward, and Jallow asked him to stop while he (Jallow) continued to direct the others to the place late Baba Jobe was hospitalized in a private ward of the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (now Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital). He said at this point, he still didn’t know what the mission was about until he was told by Nuha Badjie that the mission was to kill Baba Jobe. Following several questions by Counsel Faal, the witness said actually, he was briefed before the killing of Baba Jobe and not after the operation.
“Nuha Badjie told me that the President made an order we should finish Baba Jobe,” the witness said.
About the Witness
He said he was born on the 3rd March 1972 in Kartong Villag, Kombo South District. He said he joined the Gambia National Army in 1990 as part of the 15th Intake. He said he was in the Gambia National Army football team from 1992 to 1994. He said in 1998, he was deployed to Guinea Bissau for a peacekeeping mission and when he came back, he was deployed to Farafenni Barracks. He said in 2000, he was a Corporal and underwent a commando training in Libya. He said in 2006, he went to Darfur, Sudan for a peacekeeping mission for six (6) months.
July 22nd 1994
He said he was part of the Sanna Sabally’s led troop that attacked and took over the Fajara Barracks.
“I was a rifleman on that day. We wanted to overthrow the regime of former President Sir. Dawda Kairaba Jawara and we succeeded,” he said.
He said days after the coup, he was no more a sportsman and he was briefly an infantry and later became a Regimental Police.
About the November 11 incident, the witness said he was part of the parade for the Remembrance Day celebration that was staged to hold on the 11th November 1994. He said on the day, he was a guard to a cell where some of the alleged coup plotters were detained. He said sometime later, the members of the newly established military government came with their orderlies to the cell with a list and called the names of some of the detainees. He said those who came were Captains Sanna Sabally, Yankuba Touray, Peter Singhatey, Edward Singhatey and Sadibou Hydara.
“I opened the cell for the soldiers to come out,” the witness said.
Witness Sanneh said the soldiers that were taken out of the cell were Lieutenants Bakary Manneh, Abdoulie Jallow, Lamin Darboe, Buba Darboe, Gibril Seye and others. He said after these men were taken and executed at the forest, the convoy headed by Captain Sanna Sabally came back to the Barracks and they ordered him to bring out Sergeant Basirou Camara and E.M. Ceesay who were later killed. He denied participating in the burial of the corpses. He said after the burial, Sanna Sabally warned the soldiers saying any person who tries to overthrow their government will face the same. The witness adduced that on that day, there was no lunch at the Barracks because the soldiers were all in sorrow.