By Omar Bah
Edward Singhatey, one of the original planners of the 1994 military coup has told the Truth Commission yesterday that former president Yahya Jammeh had ordered them not to take prisoners when dealing with the November 11, 1994 coup plotters.
He said Jammeh passed this order to the former vice chairman of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council Sana Sabally as they set out to crush the coup on November 10 1994.
Asked by lead counsel Faal what he understood by “take no prisoners”, Singhatey replied: “Is very simply to make sure none of them survived. What we were ordered to do is to quash the coup in the process to make sure that there were no prisoners left alive”.
Jammeh and his colleagues overthrew the constitutionally elected government of former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara on July 22, 1994.
Singhatey was initially appointed defense minister and later vice chairman of the Council after Sanna Sabally was fired and arrested.
“Sanna and others came to my house. They said a coup is being planned and the soldiers said they were going to capture and execute us. Generally, the order was to pre-emptively go and attack the barracks. Before we left, the order that President Jammeh gave to Sanna was “take no prisoners”.
November 11 incident was one of the first alleged rights violations investigated by the Commission. Several witnesses said the soldiers were captured without any gun fight and executed.
However, Edward said there were some exchanges of fire even though he could not say if anyone had died as a result.