History Of Sait Matty Bah

sainey fayeBy Sainey Faye

Lafia, you touched on Sait Matty Bah and here is little clarification on him  after his father Maba Jahu Bah died.

Sait Matty Bah, was only 12 years old when his father (Eliaman Maba Jahu Bah ) by the (Wollof) and (Ama Bah) by the Mandingka  died. He was of Toucouleur origin from Nyoro, who met El Hadj Omar Taal in his early years around 1846 ; and he influenced him enormously to wage Jihad in Baddibu, and Saloum and also help and lead as one of his
lieutenants in Senegambia.Being a devout student he obliged, becoming an Imam and waging wars of conquest, and winning many; he built villages like Kerr Maba, and Nioro his main capital.

Briefly, he continued his attacks on Sine and was killed in 1867 in a battle with Burr Sine Koumba Ndoffen Joof. After he was killed his son and heir Sait Matty was too young to take over, from where his dad left off; being only 12 yrs. His father’s brother, Mamour Nderi was then selected by some to take over until he (Sait Matty Bah) is old to take over.

This arrangement never worked with some insisting that the role Imam was not hereditary, but was selected by elders on the basis of knowledge and knowledge alone.The majority went ahead and made him a replacement anyway.Tensions, and infighting and quarrels escalated; dividing this vast kingdom and making it ungovernable for many decades to follow.

In the mean time Gedel Mboge, who lost part of territoty to war and the traditional Jollof ruler; reorganized to retake back his land, capitalising on Maba’s  death and absence of a unified command; taking back much of their territory.

In short, after many years  Sait Matty too reorganized and surprisingly armed; went back after Burr Saloum in a bloody battle; capturing his capital Kahone. But Gedel asked the French for help, and they  agreed by playing ‘Divide and Rule’ tactics and helped defeat Sait Matty around Kaffrine around 1885. Gedel then chose the loyal warriors to him, chosing Jatta Selling Jammeh, for  Rip (Baddibu), Sait Kani Ture for (Sabach), who built a fort at KATABA, and Gumbo Gaye (Sanjal), who also built a fort at Ngeyen Sanjal.Sait Matty was pursued and he fled into Niumi to Albreda’s ceded mile; where the British saw an opportunity to make a deal with him for asylum and protection against his enemies and the French. He was said to have stayed in the army barracks located in
Half Die, close to the old Secretariat by the old Albert market. There after he was allowed to move and live at Wasulung Kunda in Bakau, near Cape St. Mary. He died there in 1897, and was buried near the Cape Point, close to Sun Wing hotel.People often visit this site as pilgimage, and  late Imam Ratib of Banjul Elh. Modou Lamin Bah was one of his grandsons.Hope this helps about Sait Matty Bah.



  1. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Thanks sainey for the clarification. I trust your account as I can see some semblance in the literature I consulted. So it must have Maba Jahu himself who attacked Nuimi and was repelled by Mansa Demba Sonko’s Army. When Musa Demba died Maba’s army attacked Nuimi again and inflicted heavy blow on Mansa Burnaie Sonko’s army in Kanuma The Nuimi army managed to reorganise itself and finally management to stop Maba. This account is based on oral narration. What is your take here??


  2. Abdoulie darboe

    THESE KINGS ARE WITHOUT A KINGDOM!Foday kaba.maba jahu,foday sillah,,these are no kings,these are just jihadish etc.West african kingdoms are ghana empire,mali empire and songhai empire.But the rest are just no king and have no kingdom,but chief,so burrs or mansa.And we do not have time for this bla bla bla when gambian or senegambians need freedom badly.

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