By Omar Bah &
Former AFPRC member Edward Singhatey has informed the TRRC that former President Yahya Jammeh, who later became chairman of the AFPRC military junta, had in fact not been part of the original 1994 coup planners and had at some stage wanted to abandon its execution.
Singhatey, who will continue his testimony today disclosed that Jammeh was invited when they needed to beef up their number with some senior officials.
“I suggested Yahya Jammeh but that was immediately rejected by Lt Basirou Barrow who eventually opted out. I remember when we were set to go to take over State House, Jammeh said he would not go and I had to grab him back to the vehicle,” Singhatey explained
He further revealed that after the coup had succeeded, the four of them who remained met to decide who would take which position.
“I was the one who suggested Jammeh become chairman by virtue of his seniority and also because I did not think Sabally’s temperament may be suitable to become the leader. Of course that did not go down well with Sabally as I could read from his countenance and I think that grudge lingered,” he narrated.
Singhatey earlier revealed that it was himself and Sanna Sabally who first discussed the July 22 coup in Kudang camp during a military exercise, called Exercise Nying Dokuwo, and upon their return convinced Alpha Kinteh and Alagie Kanteh, but then chose to bring in Basirou Barrow after realizing they needed more senior officers.
He said at some point Kinteh and Kanteh withdrew, leaving them with no choice but to go for other soldiers, that is when he decided to bring in Yahya Jammeh.
He further stated that it was Sanna Sabally who actually started the implementation of the coup from Yundum barracks before he and Jammeh joined him to split the troops into three assignments.
He confirmed that the initial plan was to arrest former president Jawara, an idea he said was not favoured by him given the potential harm to civilians and dignitaries in case of a fire fight.
He said Jammeh’s inclusion into the plan prompted Lt Basirou Barrow to quit the plot as he did not approve of Jammeh whom he had described as arrogant.
Meanwhile any lingering mystery about the suspected murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay, a former finance minister under the AFPRC Junta will be unraveled today when Edward Singhatey returns to the TRRC. The former powerful No2 has been alleged to have taken part in the gruesome killing of Ceesay in June 1995.
Also this morning, Singhatey will continue to explain his knowledge about the summary execution of about a dozen soldiers accused of plotting coup against the Junta in November 1994.
At his first appearance yesterday, Singhatey claimed there was a fire fight at the Yundum barracks on the night of November 10 1994, contrary to evidence gathered by the commission suggesting there was no exchange of fire.
Detention and torture
Despite being pushed for several minutes, Singhatey denied direct participation in the torture of Mamat Cham, RSM Jeng and Ebrima Chongan, admitting though they were beaten.
The former AFPRC No2 also apologized to the security and civilian detainees, saying that some of the security detainees should not even have been taken in at all. But he said there was little they could do about the condition of their detention since Mile 2 was the only solution.