Until his voluntary testimony at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, Sanna B. Sabally was portrayed as one of The Gambia’s greatest monsters. The former Vice Chairman of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council came to the public limelight after the November 11th 1994 foiled military coup. The aftermath of the coup witnessed the summary execution of at least 11 soldiers. All accusing fingers were pointed at Mr. Sabally. It would take Sabally 25 years before he pieces together the November 11 story to Gambiand. Sabally and Sadibou Hydara, former junta Interior Minister, became victims of a regime they had put on life support. Abtrarily arrested, detained and courtmartialed for attempting to overthrow the junta leader Yahya Jammeh. The duo were convicted on treason and sentenced to 9 years in prison. Mr. Jammeh on many occasions bragged before TV camera about how he had wrestled and subdued Sabally to the ground when the latter attempted to overthrow the former. Dramatic as it seemed, some Gambians questioned Jammeh’s one-sided story. For them, it was concorted by a man who wanted to entrench himself in power. Their wisdom is found in the saying that “those who taste power do everything under the hot sun to entrench themselves.”
The Jammeh regime had mastered the art of lying and propagation of false propaganda. With the state broadcaster under its control, the regime would pollute the public with many crafted lies. War betide those who dare challenge these lies head on. The regime lied on even stories that had become public knowledge. Only truth can demystify the many stories that happened during the Jammeh era. With startling revelations being unearthed at the TRRC, Gambians found it hard to trust the ousted APRC government. Truth glues anything: genuine relationship, friendship and love whereas lies break them.
After 25 years of craving darkness, the TRRC is providing truth to Gambians. Gambians have now known that Sanna and Sadibou did not plan any counter coup. Rather they were targeted for opposing the extension of the Council’s term in office. It is also proven that the government’s press statement on Mr. Hydara’s death was far fetched. Neither the date nor cause of his death was accurate.
We had no audacity to doubt the story of Sanna Sabally who confessed to committing and ordering executions on November 11th. He had option to stay abroad or testify on Skype but he volunteered to come home and testify to “tell Gambians my side of the story. Without knowing the Truth of who did What, How, Where and Why, the TRRC process will be a fruitless exercise. We have every reason to believe in Sanna’s story of How and Why Sadibou died.
Mr. Sabally said Hydara succumbed to tortures inflicted on him by Alagie Martin and group. “Sadibou died on June 6 at 16:00:17secs as a result of torture in his genitals by Alagie Martin and his group sent by Yaya Jammeh,” Sabally told the TRRC. Martin’s group forced them to wear g-strings and engaged in homosexual. Their refused to do homosexual act prompted the torturers to strike their testicle muscles with hammer. This left Hydara castrated, with blood oozing from every hole of his body. All their torture sessions were videotaped and sent to Yahya Jammeh.
Sabally recollected Sadibou’s last moments. “It was on June 6th after zhur prayers when Sadibou went inside his cell and laid down on the concrete slab. He told me he could see his grand ma and that he had forgiven his torturers. He asked me to recite Surat Yassin for him. Shorty he passed away in my arms.”
Former Council members – Yahya Jammeh, Edward Singhatey and Yankuba Touray – should emulate Sanna by appearing before the TRRC and tell their own story. We are in the business of correcting the wrongs of our dark past so can heal a bleeding nation, forgive where necessary and shape a brighter future. Only Truth and Justice will guide us on straight path.